Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from services of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) increased in 2018 and reached their highest level since 2012.
The total emissions of 696 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018 represent RDBN services and services the district contracted out, according to a report on May 16.
“Some factors that contribute to the increase in our emissions this year are more wood waste haul loads in 2018 and increased staff travel,” the report said. “[With] staff travel, 2018 saw the addition of staff such as the Environmental Services Operations Foreman and an additional Building Inspector out in the field.”
The report was prepared for the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP), a provincial grant scheme that provides funding to local governments that have signed the British Columbia Climate Action Charter. The funding matches the carbon taxes the governments have paid and spurs them to invest in ecologically-friendly projects, such as energy-efficient building retrofits, solar thermal water heating systems, household organic waste composting and low-emission vehicles.
As an example, the RDBN receives back the carbon taxes it pays on the natural gas used to heat the Bulkley Valley Pool in Smithers.
“This rebate (or grant) of funds that we have paid during the last year is then placed in a special project account that can be used to pay for [the green] projects,” John Illes, Chief Financial Officer with the RDBN told Lakes District News.
“We have a total of $92,750 built up in the reserve. Each year we estimate in environmental services $13,250 of additional funds will be deposited. There is an additional $6,250 deposited into the Bulkley Valley pool CARIP reserve yearly,” Illes added.
The RDBN hasn’t decided on how the rebate would be spent, but a few ideas were shared at the May 16 board of directors meeting, such as low-emission vehicles.
“Part of our dilemma is that our average travel distance is about 300 kilometres return,” Illes said. “Our best bet is a hybrid [vehicle]. For hybrids there’s big possibility.”
Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach mentioned the prospect of introducing more bio fuels for heating systems.
“The pool in Smithers [is] a huge energy thing,” he said. “Depending on natural gas prices we’re spending $30,000-$50,000 a year on the pool and there are tons of pools all over the place that have more efficient ways of heating their water than the one we’re using. I see those as being the big opportunities to drive down emissions.”
The Village of Burns Lake has also taken measures to limit its emission of greenhouse gases.
Its Idle Free PW4 bylaw prohibits operators of vehicles and equipment owned or leased by the village from idling for more than 1 minute.
Exceptions are made for emergency vehicles and equipment engaged in operational activities; the need for power; defogging, deicing or safety purposes in winter conditions.
“We [also] have a Climate Action Fund Policy in which one of the objectives is to ensure high quality emissions reductions are implemented,” Chief Administrative Officer Sheryl Worthing said. “We have also included in our Official Community Plan, a commitment to greenhouse gas reduction.”
Unlike the RDBN, the village doesn’t yet track its GHG emissions as it’s waiting until the fall for updates to its SmartTool Software, which calculates emissions.