Carbon neutral Castlegar leads off council briefs

Castlegar city council briefs from Monday, December 17th, 2012.

Trish Dehnel

Trish Dehnel

Trish Dehnel, community energy officer, and Dale Littlejohn (via phone), executive director, Community Energy Association, gave a presentation at Monday’s Castlegar city council meeting outlining the city’s commitment to being part of CNK (Carbon Neutral Kootenays).

The slideshow pointed out that Castlegar signed on to the voluntary climate action charter several years ago committing, among other things, to be carbon neutral in its operation by 2012.

“We’re here to talk about the Carbon Neutral Kootenay project and to help Castlegar understand the Measure-Act-Lead of the project,” said Dehnel. “They’ve been measuring their emissions, they’ve been acting by doing things to reduce both their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and the next step is to lead by being carbon neutral as per their commitment.”

In 2010, Castlegar had 499 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The city can purchase offsets from Pacific Carbon Trust at $25/tonne, or, as recommended by CNK, purchase locally created offsets in the Darkwoods forest conservation project, which is located between Nelson and Creston.

“We are talking about a joint procurement to purchase offsets through the Darkwoods project at probably about $15/tonne,” said Dehnel. “It would be a cheaper option to purchase offsets and therefore become carbon neutral. We know it’s unrealistic in our society to completely be zero, so what you’re doing is you purchase offsets to assist other parts of the world and other communities to reduce their emissions.”

Dehnel said that Castlegar is doing great among the 28 communities in the Kootenays involved in the program.

“Castlegar has done some really great things,” she said. “The new city hall has reduced emissions; they’re really working on their fleet; they’ve put in LED streetlights.”

Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff says its a great project that the city is glad to get behind.

“We’re involved with climate change with all the little things we do in the community,” he said. “This is all part and parcel to becoming carbon neutral. Really, there is no cost because the care grant fits in there and it balances out. The idea is we’ll be carbon neutral as of 2012 once we pay those offsets. It’s a great program. It’s great to see the Darkwoods project emerge. Before, everything went to Pacific Carbon Trust and really just disappeared. It’s really about helping out locally. Now we’re looking at – is there projects even more local that we can be involved with.”

Woodstove Exchange

At the council meeting, councillor Dan Rye of the Green Committee spoke about the continuing wood stove exchange program.

“Basically, people go out and purchase a new wood stove, it has to be more energy efficient than the one they have,” said Rye. “The RDCK will, I think, give them $100 for their wood stove and the city of Castlegar will give them $100. That’s up to a maximum of 10 wood stoves in the community.

Product Care

Council agreed to send a letter to Product Care of B.C. lamenting the fact that their will no longer be a drop off spot for hazardous waste materials in Castlegar after Rona decided not to do it anymore.

“We want to know what Product Care has in mind for Castlegar in the future for hazardous waste disposal,” said Rye.

New bylaw officer

Councillor Dan Rye informed council that Fred Nevakshonoff has replaced Nicole White as the Commissionaire responsible for bylaw enforcement for the city of Castlegar.

Joint meeting

There will a joint Planning and Development and Public Safety Meeting to discuss the issue of maintenance on the properties on 3rd Street and Columbia, owned by Basil McLaren and his wife. The meeting will take place on Dec. 20 at 3:30 at the city hall meeting room.


The city of Castlegar has been assured by B.C. Ambulance Service that their will be enough ambulances to cover the area during the Christmas holidays.

“The last two years there’s been issues with the ambulance over Christmas,” said Rye. “We were assured earlier in the year that their would be ambulance service over the holiday. We have recently been assured that their will be ambulance service.”

Water, sewer and garage bylaws

Castlegar city council gave final reading and adoption to three bylaws that will raise water, sewer and garbage rates in Castlegar.

New standing committee postings

Mayor Chernoff assigned new council standing committee positions at Monday’s council meeting.

Public Safety – chair: Hearne, deputy chair, Heaton-Sherstobitoff; Cultural and Civic Pride – chair: Rye, deputy chair, Hearne; Community Wellness and Social Services – chair, Turner, deputy chair, McIntosh; Finance and Corporate Services – chair McIntosh, deputy chair K. Chernoff. Green Committee – chair L. Chernoff, deputy chairs K. Chernoff, McIntosh; Transportation and Civic Works – chair K. Chernoff, deputy chair Rye; Planning and Development – chair Heaton-Sherstobitoff, deputy chair Turner; Recreation Commission – L. Chernoff, K. Chernoff and Rye; Stage IV Labour/Management Committee – chair K. Chernoff, members Rye, Turner;  and Emergency Committee – chair L. Chernoff, members Hearne, Heaton-Sherstobitoff.