Green commitment raises ire of councillor

An amendment to the district’s purchasing policy provokedCoun. Don Richardson into a rant.

The amendment, presented to council at the committee of the whole, directs staff to consider greenhouse gas reductions when purchasing products or services. Examples given were Energy Star compliant products or those with proven reduction in energy consumption, products made from recycled materials and vehicles that obtain high mileage.

The directive, initially, did not sit well with Richardson.

“I’ve got some concerns with this thing because one, the greenhouse gas emission stuff, as I’ve said before, is a theoretical, inconclusive statement… North American physicists will tell you that a lot of this stuff is a fabrication,” said Richardson, then questioning the time and effort it would take to comply.

District administrator Alan Harris explained the amendment is in synch with the district’s commitment under the province’s Climate Action Charter to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Whether that is scientifically correct or whatever, it is a requirement of the province of British Columbia,” said Harris, who then explained that the district is already moving in this direction. He noted the new municipal hall is being built to a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standard, and may possibly meet gold certification. He said the district has already looked at vehicles and determined electric to be ineffective and flex fuel out of the question. With the suggestion of hybrids, Richardson remarked they require specialized maintenance and carry batteries more toxic than lead batteries.

“So what I’m getting at is, we’re going to spend all this extra money on feel good stuff with not a definitive, ‘oh, we’re saving the planet,’” said Richardson.

Mayor Malcolm MacLeod replied that the district will not be spending a lot of extra money, but would consider potential cost savings.

“In the end, if there’s cost savings over time, then why wouldn’t you do it?” asked MacLeod.

By the end of the debate, all councillors present were giving the amendment a green thumb up.