‘Core review’ folds carbon trust, capital commission

Functions move into government ministries, post-secondary and hospitals will still have to buy carbon offsets

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett is in charge of the B.C. government's money saving review of government operations.

VICTORIA – The B.C. government has announced the first money-saving moves in its “core review” of provincial functions, eliminating Crown agencies that buy offsets for government carbon emissions and manage heritage properties in the Victoria area.

The functions of the Pacific Carbon Trust and the Provincial Capital Commission will continue, but will be run directly by government ministries, Energy Minister Bill Bennett announced Tuesday.

Bennett, minister in charge of the core review, said winding up the Pacific Carbon Trust is expected to save $5.6 million annually by 2015. The CEO and 13 staff are to be offered other positions in government and Bennett said he does not expect severance to be paid.

Winding up the Provincial Capital Commission is expected to save about $1 million, while maintaining the agency’s cultural and student outreach programs. Capital region properties including St. Anne’s Academy, the Crystal Garden and the former CPR steamship terminal will continue to be operated by government, with no immediate plans to sell them.

Post-secondary schools and health authorities will continue to pay millions to offset their fossil fuel use, and the money will go to industrial, forest and other projects deemed to reduce carbon emissions. Bennett said the government intends to adapt the program as has been done with public school offsets, so hospitals and universities can invest in their own energy-saving efforts.

The Pacific Carbon Trust was criticized in a March 2013 report by former auditor general John Doyle. He said the two largest investments by the trust, a forest preserve in the Kootenays and a flaring reduction program for EnCana natural gas operations at Fort Nelson, would have happened without subsidies from provincial operations.

Other offset projects funded by the trust include hybrid heating systems for the Westin Whistler Resort and Spa and the Coast Hillcrest resort in Revelstoke, as well as fuel substitution for mills and greenhouse operations. The program has been unpopular since it was established in 2008.

“Who in their right mind considers a school or hospital a polluter?” said Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation. “Taxpayers are spending millions on buying carbon credits for these facilities rather than providing front-line services.”

Environment Minister Mary Polak said international experts have certified the trust’s investments as legitimate offsets.

 

Just Posted

Road report for Highway 20

Fog patches and slippery sections; Drive BC

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

Mining company prospecting for gold near Bella Coola

Gold discovered in alpine areas where glaciers are receding

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp

Social media rumours of cultural significance quashed, meaning police “exclusion zones” should end.

Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs abide by interim injunction, but gate stays up. Still opposed.

Giant rotating ice disk forms in Maine river

Ice disk that is roughly 100 yards wide has formed in the Presumpscot River

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

SUV wedged on top of car in B.C. mall parking lot has customers confused

The accident occurred Tuesday, no injuries were reported

Huawei founder thanks inmates, Canadian justice system for treating daughter well

Ren Zhengfei said he believes there will be a just conclusion to the case of his daughter, Meng Wanzhou

May government faces no-confidence vote after Brexit defeat

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would stay put in her leadership role

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external committee

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Canada needs a digital ID system, bankers association says

The Department of Finance last week officially launched its public consultation on the merits of open banking

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Most Read