With all levels of government continuing to strive to become more environmentally friendly, two West Shore municipalities are proud to be among 54 B.C. jurisdictions that reached carbon neutrality in 2015.
Both View Royal and Highlands are within that group, according to the B.C. Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program’s (CARIP) September 2016 report. Langford, Metchosin and Colwood have reached level two of the three-step program.
According to Mayor Ken Williams, Highlands has been carbon neutral since 2013 and the district’s carbon usage has been declining since it began measuring in 2012.
“We are a leader in this and we are a very progressive municipality,” he said.
View Royal Mayor David Screech said one of the Town’s recent green initiatives saw it switch to a new waste management truck that operates on compressed natural gas instead of using the older diesel-fuelled truck. “That made a fairly significant difference,” he said.
View Royal was also one of the province’s leaders in composting kitchen scraps, he noted, implementing that practice before it became mandatory in the region at the beginning of 2015. “Our corporate emissions are less than some because we’re relatively small, we have a small fleet of vehicles and we don’t have a massive town hall.”
Highlands is very “keyed into its role” with regards to climate action in the CRD, according to Williams, and its abundant green space is reason enough for the municipality to remain proactive when it comes to the environment.
“We’re [very good at sequestering] carbon with our green spaces and our huge land mass of parks. We’re kind of the lungs of the region in many ways,” he said.
CARIP is a conditional grant program that provides funding to local governments that have signed onto the B.C. Climate Action Charter. Under that document, local governments must commit to take actions to become carbon neutral in their corporate operations and reduce community-wide emissions by creating more complete, compact and energy efficient rural and urban communities.
In the 2015 reporting year, 174 local governments submitted CARIP reports. Other CRD municipalities that have reached carbon neutrality include Victoria, Central Saanich, Sidney and Sooke.