Green taxes on local government agenda

Municipal leaders are gathering for their annual convention in Vancouver at the end of September, and they'll be calling for changes to green taxes imposed by the B.C. government.

Municipal leaders are gathering for their annual convention in Vancouver at the end of September, and they’ll be calling for changes to green taxes imposed by the B.C. government.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities executive has given high priority to a resolution from Smithers calling for changes to the province’s carbon offset program. Municipalities and regional districts, along with school districts and health authorities, are required to buy greenhouse gas emission credits to make their operations “carbon neutral,” with proceeds going to cleanup projects such as natural gas and cement plants.

Smithers council is calling for carbon offset payments to be retained by each local government, to use for their own building retrofits, fuel-efficient vehicles or other emissions reduction strategies. Environment Minister Terry Lake has indicated he is considering such a change, after complaints that the carbon offset program is costing cash-strapped schools and hospitals millions every year.

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District is calling for a portion of carbon tax on fossil fuels to be directed to transit funding. That mirrors a proposal considered by Premier Christy Clark, who will be making her first keynote speech at the UBCM convention on Sept. 30.

Resolutions from the Cariboo Regional District and the City of Colwood call for the province to reverse its ban on incandescent light bulbs, citing concern about the disposal of compact fluorescent lights.

Fort St. John council has a resolution calling for five per cent of B.C.’s liquor store revenues to go to local drug and alcohol awareness and prevention programs for youth and adults. The UBCM passed a similar resolution in 2004, calling for a share of provincial liquor revenues to support homeless shelters and detox facilities.

The District of Metchosin is seeking federal and provincial help to control its population of Canada geese, which has ballooned to between 3,000 and 5,000 with considerable losses to crops. The resolution says geese were introduced to southern Vancouver Island in the 1950s “to provide stock for hunting purposes.”

UBCM delegates will also vote on a resolution to allow local governments to offer online voting. The City of Vancouver has a pilot program in the works for advance polls in local elections, which take place across the province this November.

Another hot topic at the convention will be Clark’s promise to create a new municipal auditor-general. Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Ida Chong says the auditor will do “performance audits,” such as looking at projects cost-shared by the B.C. and federal governments to see which communities used them more efficiently.

Just Posted

Final key components for Johnson Street Bridge installed this weekend in Victoria

Dynamic Beast crane barge arrives back in town on Friday

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Most Read