‘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

Student rangers sought for Terrace

Young adults interested in student ranger program have until Feb. 24 to apply

Skeena Sawmills audit good overall, but fault found in tree planting

Violation only issue discovered in Forest Practices Board report

DoK delays third reading of TSW land rezoning

Decision on hold until another public hearing is held

Is Terrace prepared for a rail disaster?

Council asked to review surge in dangerous goods movement: “I live in the blast zone,” says resident

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

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

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Most Read