The University of Victoria Student Society wants to see Saanich council fund all of the district’s climate actions for this year.
Some of Saanich’s climate plan actions weren’t funded last year as council stuck to a core budget amid financial concerns surrounding the pandemic. A resource request that would support implementing climate actions identified for this year — as well as 2020 actions that are behind schedule or weren’t funded — appeared in a staff report presented to council ahead of budget deliberations taking place over the next month.
The move to not fully fund the climate action plan, called 100% Renewable and Resilient Saanich, drew the ire of a third of council at the time. The UVSS said the community shouldn’t delay implementing the initiatives.
Fully funding the Climate Action and Environmental Leadership resource request would cost $2,644,000 in 2021. The move would increase property taxes by two per cent, on top of the 2021 draft budget’s 4.43 per cent increase for core operations.
Saanich declared a climate emergency two years ago this month. Its climate action plan outlines options that aim to help curb global warming from rising above 1.5C since pre-industrial times, while also creating a community that’s more resilient to anticipated climate change.
Saanich’s 2021 to 2025 draft financial plan says 40 per cent of the 131 actions identified under its climate plan are already underway or could be delivered with existing staff and financial resources.