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Surrey council approves report on climate action

The corporate report addresses the city’s access to B.C.’s Local Government Climate Action Program funding and how it will be used
A tree towers above at Surrey Mound Farm. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey council on Monday approved a corporate report on the city’s access to B.C.’s Local Government Climate Action Program funding and how it will be used.

The report– authored by Surrey’s general manager of engineering Scott Neuman and Kam Grewal, general manager of finance – notes that the provincial Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) was “previously a mainstay” of funding which Surrey used since 2010 to support its climate action initiatives but it was discontinued last year.

In response, Surrey council asked the provincial government to reinstate CARIP or provide equivalent funding and on May 16 it launched the Local Government Climate Action Program (LGCAP) to provide civic-level governments with “predictable, annual, long-term funding for local climate action to help reach legislated climate targets and prepare communities for the impacts of a changing climate,” the report states.

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The provincial government has committed $1.17 million to Surrey to be paid annually during the first three years of the program, beginning this August, and this money must be used “exclusively” to fund climate action initiatives that are aligned with the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 and draft Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy (“CPAS”) objectives, Neuman and Grewal note.

“Following the recent announcement of the LGCAP program, staff have started working on an action plan for use of these funds over the first three years of the program to ensure that the most strategic and high impact climate action initiatives are prioritized,” they report.

To receive the LGCAP funding, Surrey must contribute $235,000.

The “desired outcomes” aligned with LGCAP involve neighbourhoods and urban design being “well-connected” within Surrey and to the region by “fast and efficient public transit and active transportation infrastructure for all ages and abilities,” and that Surrey protects its ecosystem and manages natural assets to “create resiliency to adapt and thrive in a changing climate.”

Because the City of Surrey anticipates climate change will change weather patterns resulting in rising sea levels, it is to implement “appropriate infrastructure, land use planning and emergency response solutions that will be resilient over the long term” and also ensure per-capita emissions are low and meet global reduction targets.

A final draft of Surrey’s Climate Crisis Action Strategy will be brought before council for consideration in November or December this year.

Coun. Brenda Locke asked for it to be “expedited,” to which Neuman replied,“We’re trying our best.”

“It’s quite a significant document,” he said. “Staff have done significant iterations and got a lot of feedback from a number of stakeholders.”

However, he added, staff wants to do “a final circulation of key aspects of it to the stakeholders to get final input prior to finalizing.”

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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