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The B.C. government announced a new program for local governments to access funding for projects that address climate change.
The province is putting $76 million over three years into the CleanBC Local Government Climate Action Program. Funding distribution will be based on population as well as a base amount. Participating governments will need to show funds have been invested in projects that support the objectives of the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 or the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy. Like the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP), which was cancelled in 2021, governments will need to be signed on to the B.C. Climate Action Charter in order to qualify. They’ll also need to follow reporting requirements and provide 20 per cent of the provincial allocation either in matching funding or in-kind contributions to local climate initiatives.
The new program was developed with input from local governments, the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM), Modern Treaty Nations and the independent Climate Solutions Council.
“We’ve been clear that much had changed since the introduction of CARIP over a decade ago and that we needed to transition to the next phase of local government climate action,” the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said in a statement. The ministry says the funding for the new program is more than double what was provided under CARIP.
“Each local government will receive at least as much funding as under CARIP, and many will receive substantially more. Funding will be targeted to actions that either reduce emissions or help communities prepare for climate change, depending on local priority. This was not the case with CARIP.”
The RDN was one of several jurisdictions who urged the province to replace CARIP after the province announced the cancellation without any clear indication that a new funding stream was on the way. A 2021 RDN staff report noted the regional district had received over $1 million from the program since 2009. A special resolution passed at the UBCM 2021 convention called for a replacement to CARIP that would have annualized, formula-based funding that recognized varying local capacity for climate action as well as flexibility on eligible projects to fit local needs and priorities.
A request for comment from the RDN on the new program was not returned as of press time.
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder