A recent Liberal government caucus press release touting the provision of $70,444 in grants to seven municipalities in the Boundary – Similkameen also included a $1,093 grant to the Village of Keremeos.
The grants derive from the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program, a conditional program that provides funding to Climate Action Charter signatories, of which Keremeos is one.
Climate Action Charter communities monitor and chart their progress in carbon footprint reduction on an annual basis, providing a report card to the province. In return for the report, municipalities receive a grant equivalent to 100 per cent of the carbon tax they pay directly.
Green incentives such as this have merit, however, closer scrutinization reveals A flaw in the province’s current Climate Action Program – a flaw that makes the program difficult for small B.C. communities like Keremeos to benefit from.
Village of Keremeos staff’s recent CARIP report to council came with a comment the report to CARIP cost more to produce than the grant received.
“I think most municipalities originally saw the Climate Action Charter as a good idea, with valid goals,” said CAO Laurie Taylor in a subsequent interview, “we’re all in favour of green legislation, but no one understood how much work was going to be involved in reporting.”
It appears to us, the way the program is currently set up, smaller communities are actually at a disincentive to continue their involvement if the cost of reporting outweighs the financial return.
It appears to be a good idea that got lost in paperwork.
Perhaps the province should take a look at streamlining the reporting process for small communities.
Right now, they are following the same rules as the larger centres, but unable to reap any rewards.
If that’s the case, it would appear to us that it’s just a matter of time before smaller centres look at their balance sheet and decide the program simply isn’t worth putting staff resources into every year.