The District of Sooke has approved a request from the Capital Regional District to help fund new climate initiatives.
The Climate Action Program is part of the CRD’s revamped climate change strategy, updated after the regional district declared a climate emergency in 2019.
The new funding request, which will see the program’s costs jump to $1.73 million from $480,000, is seeking funding for three new initiatives: to help homeowners receive rebates for doing energy efficiency retrofits on their homes, and to hire an electric vehicle coordinator and a corporate energy project manager.
While Sooke council didn’t unanimously approve the plan, most councillors agreed the region must work together to fill gaps in climate action programs.
“I don’t want to fire up a whole new service when the CRD is already doing one,” Mayor Maja Tait said.
Coun. Tony St-Pierre is thrilled the CRD and the municipality are working together to tackle climate change, but tempered his enthusiasm with a spoonful of reality.
“The CRD is not going to be able to come into Sooke and solve all of our problems – not with that kind of a budget, not with that kind of staff,” said St. Pierre, who sits on the CRD’s climate change task force.
The new program costs would equate to an annual property tax hike of around $7.61 for the average household assessed at $809,721 in 2021 rates, according to CRD documents.
Municipalities have until Dec. 17 to decide whether to support the increase. The bylaw amendment needs a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
– with files from Bailey Moreton