The CRD’s climate action service may soon receive additional funding from the District of Saanich.
On Monday, council voted to adopt an amendment to the CRD climate action bylaw, consenting to an $18,000 increase to its requisition limit. According to the report, the increase will allow the service to continue leveraging funding to undertaker regional studies, policy development and educational programming, as well as implement projects “to advance the board’s climate action-focused objectives.”
Glenn Harris, senior manager of the environmental protection division with the CRD, explained that the program has met financial challenges in its efforts to support its services, which include adaptation and mitigation of greenhouse gases through climate action in island-based municipalities and electoral areas.
“Since 2009 when the bylaw was introduced, we’ve had increases through inflation and we’re just at a point now where we’ve exceeded the level of requisition,” he said. “That was the administrative purpose for coming forward.”
The report proposed increasing the requisition from Saanich from $68,000 to $86,000 this year, with marginal increases over the next several years. The cost to taxpayers was estimated at 32 cents per $530,059 average household assessed at 2016 rates.
Coun. Vic Derman moved the recommendation, saying the program has performed well to date and that the financial boost will allow it to expand.
“We are lucky enough in Saanich to be large enough to have dedicated staff in terms of climate change,” he said. “Most municipalities and electoral areas in the region don’t have that luxury, so the regional function provides them with a lot of the kind of support we have in-house in Saanich.
“Climate change, unfortunately, is not getting better. It is rapidly getting worse… and we are going to need to put forward resources to address it.”
Coun. Dean Murdock echoed Derman’s comments, saying the value generated from the program is worth the increase.
“We’re not looking at astronomical increases going forward – we’re talking about fractions of percentages in terms of what gets approved from Saanich to support CRD activities,” he said.
The resolution was carried unanimously.