North Cowichan will look at hiring staff person to deal with climate change

Coun. Kate Marsh makes motion for a report on issue

With climate change becoming a bigger issue every day, the Municipality of North Cowichan will be asked to consider adding a new staff position in local efforts to deal with it.

At the municipality’s council meeting on Feb. 20, Coun. Kate Marsh made a motion for staff to prepare a report on the logistics of hiring a person to specialize in climate change and environmental issues in North Cowichan.

RELATED STORY: MINISTER SAYS PLAN TO FIGHT POVERTY, CLIMATE CHANGE, FOCUS OF B.C. BUDGET

She said the municipality has been recognized for its award-winning climate action plan, but there is no longer a staff member dedicated to climate change.

“There are all kinds of reports indicating that there is not much time left to address and adapt to issues around climate change,” Marsh said.

“The Capital Regional District recently declared a climate emergency and I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t ask staff to prepare a report on this.”

Coun. Christopher Justice said there are currently many sources of funds available from numerous sources for projects related to climate change and environmental issues.

“We may find enough available money for the funding for this position to take care of itself,” he said.

Marsh’s motion will be discussed at a future council meeting.

As part of its budget building process for 2019, North Cowichan is already considering hiring five new staff members, at a cost of approximately $505,000 annually, this year as it moves forward with plans to modernize operations in the coming months.

At a budget meeting earlier this month, staff suggested that with the recommendations for the new staff members, as well as other budgetary issues in 2019, municipal taxes could rise by four per cent, or even as high as seven per cent, in 2019 for the municipality’s property owners.

RELATED STORY: N. COWICHAN MULLS 4-7% TAX HIKE

But Mayor Al Siebring cautioned that the municipality is far from finalizing its budget for the year, which it must do by May 15, and more discussions are planned.

“With adjustments, I expect that the tax increase this year could be in the three per cent range,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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