Town rewarded for being a good environmental citizen

Being a good neighbour has earned the Town of Osoyoos a carbon tax refund — and a few extra dollars to better address climate change.

The Town will share in more than $7 million in funding from the provincial Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program, which provides a refund equal to 100% of the carbon taxes they pay to local governments taking action to reduce their carbon footprint.

Locally that effort earned the Town a refund of $11,729.

“It basically goes back into our general revenues,” said Jim Zakal, the Town’s Deputy CAO. “That’s where the monies were paid from.”

Although the town strives to make improvements with new projects and as it updates existing infrastructure, the largest share of its ‘carbon neutrality’ came by purchasing carbon credits, he said.

Osoyoos is one of 45 BC communities that achieved carbon neutrality in 2017 — delivering a net zero footprint by by balancing the measured amount of carbon released through its operations with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference.

In the South Okanagan, the Town of Oliver and City of Penticton also achieved carbon neutrality in 2017, Oliver being refunded $5,502 in carbon taxes and Penticton $52,320.

The Province and the Union of B.C. Municipalities established the voluntary B.C. Climate Action Charter in 2007. Since then, almost all of the province’s 200 communities have signed up.

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