Central Saanich is topping off funding designed to fight the effects of climate change.
Council unanimously approved a notice of motion by Coun. Zeb King to transfer just under $21,000 to its climate leadership plan which commits now just under $179,000 toward various initiatives.
The amount being transferred equals the amount that the municipality would have paid to a regional service offered by the Capital Regional District (CRD) prior to plans by the CRD to ask municipalities for a higher contribution.
This ask — which would increase Central Saanich’s contribution to about $62,000 this year — prompted the municipality to withdraw from the service last December. Central Saanich’s departure won’t be effective until 2023 because the notification deadline for withdrawal was July 1.
Council’s decision to withdraw from the initial service was premised on the assessment that the municipality was not getting value for its money from the regional service and King said during discussions last Monday that his motion ensures that the money otherwise dedicated for the regional service does not go into general revenue but rather into climate change.
Mayor Ryan Windsor, who seconded King’s motion, said in an interview after the meeting that it was logical for council to augment the municipality’s own program.
“We were obviously making a significant commitment already, but Coun. King rightly said, ‘Ok, what do we do with this money?’ We have a lot of detail in our own program and a lot of ambition. Adding to that is definitely a worthwhile cause and council was unanimous on that.”
A side discussion focused on the purpose of a staff report listing the various services that the municipality will lose once it has withdrawn from the service starting Jan. 1, 2023. They include updated greenhouse gas inventories, future iterations of climate projections and maps, and coastline updates for coastal flood inundations among other items.
“I’m reading into here — and maybe I am just reading into this — some concerns in terms of the motion (to withdraw) on Dec. 7,” said Coun. Bob Thompson during the debate.
Chief administrative officer Christine Culham said the report offers neither commentary nor recommendations.
“This is just for information for council with respect to the programs that were offered through the CRD,” she said. “There is no commentary from staff on the resolution.”
When asked about the contents of the document, Windsor said no one on council highlighted anything as a massive concern.
Council, he added, remains committed to pulling out of the regional service.
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