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Dawson Creek recognized for municipal carbon fund at UBCM Convention

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Earlier this year, the City of Dawson Creek implemented a policy where it will set aside $100 for every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted in its operations – including buildings and fleet vehicles – into a carbon fund that will be used to finance emissions-reducing projects

Mayor Mike Bernier was invited to speak about the carbon fund and other emissions-reducing projects to an audience of about 150 mayors and councillors gathered for the Green Communities Forum on Tuesday during the UBCM convention.

“It’s been an amazing reception down here,” said Bernier over the phone from Vancouver. “That’s always a great feather in our cap for a city our size to be getting this kind of recognition for the initiatives we have, it is really exciting.”

He added the city was even highlighted during a presentation by former premier Mike Harcourt on “green” initiatives, and Dawson Creek may even be up for UBCM award this Thursday.

Last year, Dawson Creek’s municipal greenhouse gas emissions totaled approximately 3,600 tonnes, which means that the initial investment in the carbon fund is expected to total about $360,000. The fund is being financed partly through the carbon tax refund the city receives annually from the provincial government, and partially through general revenues.

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As a signatory to the Climate Action Charter, the City of Dawson Creek has committed to being carbon neutral by 2012. While the carbon fund cannot be used to purchase carbon offsets, city council did also adopt a policy to guide the purchase of those offsets as will be required for each tonne of carbon dioxide the corporation emits staring next year. The corporation also developed its own strategy for reaching carbon neutrality back in 2009.

Bernier said he spoke with at least four mayors that afternoon who were seeking information on the carbon fund to take back to their respective communities. He added there are certainly examples of projects other communities are doing such as district heating and bioenergy systems that might be applied to Dawson Creek.

“We are by no means the only community doing something – every community and every region is doing something,” said the mayor. “There are lots of things we can learn from other communities while we are down here as well.”

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Bernier said he has also been invited to speak at the Clean Energy BC Fall Conference, which is happening at the same time as the UBCM Convention, about alternative energy projects in and around Dawson Creek.

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Perhaps not surprisingly, Dawson Creek’s only resolution sent forward to the UBCM Convention this year involves another green initiative. City council is lobbying the provincial government to amend the provincial building code to give local governments the ability to impose a 10 per cent minimum renewable energy requirement for new residential and commercial buildings within local jurisdictions. The resolution sessions of the convention begin tomorrow morning.

Overall, Bernier said the convention is a great opportunity to bring issues forward to other communities and to the provincial government, as about 1,400 delegates are in attendance, including other mayors and councillors, provincial cabinet ministers and MLAs from both sides of the Legislature. He said this morning, for example, he met with three ministers and will be meeting with a few more this afternoon.

The City of Dawson Creek’s carbon fund and carbon neutral plan policies have been attached below.

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