The Union of BC Municipalities Sept. 15 called on Victoria to properly fund continued local climate change action.
The annual conference heard the provincial Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) has provided local governments with funding critical to achieving their commitments under the Climate Action Charter, allowing them to build staff capacity, develop policy and plans and leverage capital to advance local climate action plans that support provincial climate action strategies and goals.
However, resolutions before delegates said the cancellation of CARIP without local government consultation, and without a clearly defined replacement program, undermines the ability of local governments to support local climate action plans, the province’s CleanBC climate action strategy and new provincial sectoral emission reduction targets.
The resolutions said both local governments and UBCM have prioritized climate action and have implemented a range of initiatives to create energy-efficient and weather-resilient communities.
But, resolutions said, Victoria has neither clarified whether it is actively working on a replacement funding program nor the nature, scope, amount and timing of such a program:
Delegates voted 97.8% in favour of the resolution.
These five parts of the request encompass:
- postponing the termination of CARIP funding until such time as local governments have been adequately consulted on continued provincial support for the provision of greener and more livable communities;
- developing an alternative to CARIP that provides comparable, non-competitive, annual funding for critical climate action projects; and
- replacing CARIP with a new, non-competitive funding program commencing in the 2022 fiscal year that provides equivalent or better funding to all local governments.
In 2008, former premier Gordon Campbell announced that local governments were eligible for the CARIP grant if they signed on to the Climate Action Charter and agreed to publicly report on their climate action progress.
CARIP is a conditional grant program that provides funding to charter signatories equal to 100% of the carbon tax they pay to support local government operations. The program was designed to encourage investment in climate action at the local level.
One-hundred and eighty-nine local governments have signed the charter.
“Incorporating climate action into their core operations and services, local governments have invested significant financial and human capital into building energy efficient and weather resilient communities,” the resolution said.
In April 2021, the provincial budget announced $11 million to develop and fund a new program for local governments to plan for compact and energy-efficient communities.