‘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

VIDEO: Man climbs crane in Abbotsford

Police, fire called to deal with climber last night

It’s about to get hot: Special weather statement issued for Lower Mainland

Temperatures expected to rise and stick around till next week, Environment Canada forecasts

One dead in Abbotsford motorcycle crash

Female passenger dies after motorcycle crashes into rear of SUV

Highway crashes double in Fraser Valley, truck traffic also up steeply

Unclear if doubling of Fraser Valley highway crashes is linked to spike in truck traffic

Subdivision: Smaller lots, more houses

Mission proposal would feature 1/4 acre lots close to City Hall

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

SilverStar officially opens Gondola

The brand-new gondola is now offering scenic rides for visitors on SilverStar Mountain Resort.

VIDEO: Langley City legendary water fight was a soaking good time

And perfectly timed for a hot weather warning

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Most Read