The Regional District of Central Kootenay is leaning toward spending money on internal projects to reduce its carbon footprint rather than buying offsets through the Darkwoods forest this year.
The board referred a motion Thursday to buy about $47,000 worth of offsets to its May meeting and asked staff to determine what projects might qualify under BC’s Climate Action Charter.
Chair John Kettle explained the board held off buying offsets last year from Darkwoods after it was condemned in an auditor general’s report.
“Why are we not able to leave [the money] in the fund until we can spend it on an internal project?” asked rural Kaslo director Andy Shadrack. “I’m not opposed to Darkwoods, but are there not projects we could do to lower our own footprint?”
Nelson mayor John Dooley and Nakusp mayor Karen Hamling agreed, noting their municipalities have done just that. “I believe if we have projects, we keep that money. It’s time to push back and say we’re not paying for offsets,” Dooley said.
“I think it’s far more beneficial to put this money into projects that brings us closer to carbon neutral than to give the money to someone else,” Hamling said. “Paying somebody else doesn’t make us carbon neutral. I really take offense to that.”
Under the Darkwoods project, the Nature Conservancy of Canada markets carbon credits generated by a 55,000 hectare property on the south arm of Kootenay Lake.