‘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

21 years: Grand Chief Stewart Philip to continue leading B.C. Indian Chiefs union

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip acclaimed as president of Union of BC Indian Chiefs

“Princeton won’t be the same without him, that’s what they say.”

A celebration of life held in the town square, possibly with a… Continue reading

RDOS board remuneration, expenses come to $500,000

Costs presented in Statement of Financial Information

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

On this day 126 years ago New Zealand women granted right to vote

New Zealand women beat Canadians to the polls by 26 years

Provincial Mobile Medical Unit makes an appearance in Kelowna

The high tech hospital on wheels provides medical care for rural communities and during emergencies

B.C. health minister announces urgent care center for Central Okanagan residents

The Kelowna-based health centre will support about 63,000 patient visits per year

EDITORIAL: Past actions haunt candidates

Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer dogged by incidents from earlier years

How to get that Spark Joy feeling

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

VIDEO: Tempers flare during Sagmoen’s police interview

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Most Read