The provincial and federal governments are committing more than $130 million to address climate change at a local level in B.C. communities.
On Tuesday, Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Natural Resources, announced the government would invest up to $134 million for local range projects to manage renewable energy, increased access to clean energy and improve energy efficiency in buildings, transportation and other infrastructure.
He said the past year of natural disasters in the province is evidence of the current climate crisis.
“Climate change, as I think everybody knows, represents an existential threat to our way of life here in Canada and people around the globe," he said.
"It is no longer something that is far away, climate change is causing significant impacts today, and these impacts will increase significantly going forward in the absence of aggressive near term action to reduce carbon emissions. British Columbians know more than most that there is no time to waste. It is just this past year that we have witnessed extreme heat and catastrophic fire, atmospheric rivers, fives and with us in human and economic devastation.”
Wilkinson said the funding will be part of the CleanBC roadmap, but the money is a joint project between the provincial and federal government.
“We have been very, very pleased to partner with the government of British Columbia — who has a similarly ambitious plan,” he said, adding that up to date the partnerships had funded over $214 million in local green infrastructure projects.
Previous projects funded by CleanBC include a biomass energy centre in Sicamous and energy efficient upgrades to the Canada Games Pool in Kamloops.
“Obviously, we have to work as fast as we can," said Kamloops Coun. Arjun Singh, a member of B.C's climate solution council.
"We can't negotiate with the planet. It's starting to get mad at us. We've seen that day in and day out in every part of the world — and especially in British Columbia last little while.”
Singh said the funding helps in the fight against climate change, but he said more still needs to be done.
“We always need more of that [funding] and we need more partnerships to make sure we have capacity,” Singh said.
“Especially in smaller rural communities across the province, the capacity issue is quite evident and this money will help and whatever we can do also to help communities, we are willing to partner.”