District working to reduce footprint

The District of Port Hardy is working to reduce its carbon footprint.

The District of Port Hardy is working to reduce its carbon footprint.

At their regular meeting March 10, Director of Finance Allison McCarrick presented the District’s Climate Action Revenue Incentive Public report to council.

Introduced in 2007, the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program is a conditional grant program that provides funding to BC Climate Action Charter signatories equivalent to 100 per cent of the carbon taxes they pay directly.

By signing the Charter, local governments commit to measuring and reporting on their community’s greenhouse gas emissions and working to create more energy-efficient communities. To be eligible for the conditional grant, on or before March 7 of each year, local governments are required to report publicly on their plan and progress and submit a copy of the report to the province.

“We felt that we needed to be carbon neutral,” said McCarrick, on why the district decided to participate in the program.

McCarrick said that 2012 was the first reporting year and at that time they purchased carbon offsets which mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electricity use, and other sources.

In 2013 and 2014, the District of Port Hardy conducted energy-efficient retrofits of its facilities, including assessing the lighting in municipal facilities and replacing old lighting with energy-efficient ones, reviewing its wastewater management and upgrading its fleet.

They also participated in the Regional District of Mount Waddington’s bio-cover methane emissions reductions project which involves applying one to two metres of material comprised of remediated Tervita soil, mixed with on-site compost material, on top of slopes at the Seven Mile Landfill.

“It was a great savings to us,” said McCarrick of the bio-cover project.

The offsets provided by the MWRD project has resulted in lowering the amount of offsets the District would need to be deemed carbon neutral.

The District in 2013 approved a policy which allows it to put the value of the offsets required into a fund to be used for community green initiatives instead of purchasing the offsets from an outside provider. The contribution to the fund for 2014 is $4,394.50.

“We have put that into a fund for future projects,” McCarrick said.

She explained the municipality experienced a jump in its emissions last year to about 393 tonnes, because for the first time carbon dioxide produced by its contractors, who provide “traditional” local government services, was included in the total. In 2015, the district plans to implement a commercial recycling program and continue working on things like energy retrofits, fuel conservation and looking into initiatives like biogas and green energy.

“There are a lot of things that smaller communities can’t do,” said McCarrick, because they don’t have the tax base, however the district is committed to the process.

“We are not carbon neutral, but we are working towards carbon neutrality,” she said.

 

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