Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

CRD board rejects Central Saanich request to back out of climate action service

Capital Regional District’s belief that its ability to fight climate change is better than municipalities ‘misguided,’ Windsor says

By Jimmy Thomson
July 18, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

CRD board rejects Central Saanich request to back out of climate action service

Capital Regional District’s belief that its ability to fight climate change is better than municipalities ‘misguided,’ Windsor says

By Jimmy Thomson
Jul 18, 2022
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

CRD board rejects Central Saanich request to back out of climate action service

Capital Regional District’s belief that its ability to fight climate change is better than municipalities ‘misguided,’ Windsor says

By Jimmy Thomson
July 18, 2022
Get the news and events in Victoria, in your inbox every morning.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
CRD board rejects Central Saanich request to back out of climate action service
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

Central Saanich asked the CRD to be let out of its commitment to a regionally shared climate action service, which provides technical data and scientific expertise, as well as supporting climate action like emissions reduction and climate adaptation in the region. But at a meeting last Wednesday, the board declined. 

“If ever there was something we want to stand together [on] and say ‘we want to work together,’ it is climate action,” said board chair Colin Plant, in what he admitted was an unusually strident statement for the chair.

Central Saanich currently pays $40K per year for its part in the service, and that’s expected to be $74K in 2023; if it were to back out, other municipalities’ contributions would go up by 4.5%. 

The municipality’s mayor, Ryan Windsor, argued that the actual power to deal with climate change lies with the local governments themselves, not coordinated action. “Adding $40,000 from our coffers to the regional district plan takes away from our ability to implement [climate plans] without raising taxes,” he said. “Those resources are best used locally.”

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

Victoria mayor Lisa Helps came out against the motion, arguing that allowing one municipality to pull out could lead to a domino effect—with one municipality after another going it alone on an issue that previously saw unanimous agreement on an emergency declaration. 

But some board members agreed, at least in principle, that a member municipality’s right to decide for itself what it wants to participate in should be respected.

The motion exposed a core vulnerability in the CRD’s board: smaller municipalities feeling dragged along by the will of their larger counterparts.

Metchosin mayor John Ranns, who eventually voted with the minority in support of Central Saanich’s request to withdraw, said municipalities should be free to withdraw from CRD initiatives if they felt they weren’t getting their money’s worth. 

“This is not about the climate change issue—it’s about the principle of how we cooperate together as municipalities,” Ranns said. “One of the fundamental protections that smaller municipalities have … is the ability to opt out.”

Mayors Martin (Colwood), Ranns (Metchosin), and Desjardins (Esquimalt) joined director Mike Hicks (Juan de Fuca) and Windsor in voting to let Central Saanich withdraw from the service. They were overruled by the majority, many of whom expressed ambivalence about voting against a municipality’s sovereignty. 

Jeremy Loveday, of Victoria, was among them. “Any decision where you’re voting against the will of an elected council should not be taken lightly, and I am not taking this lightly,” he said. But the urgency of climate action, for him, overrode the need to respect Central Saanich council’s unanimous request.

For others who felt conflicted, like Denise Blackwell of Langford, the deciding factor was more pragmatic. Blackwell raised the spectre of losing federal or provincial funding. 

“One of the things we’ll probably be doing in the near future is seeking money from the federal and provincial governments,” she said. “And what they always tell us when we look for money on transportation, [is] if you’re not all in this together, we don’t know how much to give you and we’re going to stop giving you money.” 

Windsor called the belief in the CRD’s ability to fight climate change better than the municipalities “misguided.” 

“I think there’s an emotive belief around this table that the regional district has a bigger role to play than in fact it does,” he said, stressing that his municipality is not pressing for less action—just more local action. 

“Central Saanich has a climate leadership plan; it’s hardly a municipality where climate denialism is rife,” he said.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Jimmy Thomson
Managing Editor

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

Related News

Fight, Magic, Items is a chronicle of how Japanese roleplaying games levelled up through the decades
Stay connected to your city with the Capital Daily newsletter.
By filling out the form above, you agree to receive emails from Capital Daily. You can unsubscribe at any time.