Council Matters - April 3, 2013

In February, North Cowichan Council adopted a Climate Action and Energy Plan (CAEP). As part of this plan, Council is considering a Climate Action and Energy Plan Fund to pay for projects that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing energy use is an investment that has the potential to save significant amounts of money in Municipal operations and even greater amounts in the households of our community while creating local green economy jobs. At the same time, we all will be doing our part to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that affect climate change.

At its April 3 regular meeting, Council considered the recently completed telephone survey which asked, "How strongly do you support or oppose paying a 1% increase in municipal property taxes to specifically fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy use in North Cowichan?" Four hundred interviews were conducted with randomly chosen residents of North Cowichan. The results are expected to have a margin of error no greater than 4.9%, 19 times out of 20. The results were intriguing. A greater number (43%) supported the 1% tax than opposed it (39%), while those strongly opposed (28%) outnumbered those strongly supportive (18%).

A further breakdown of results shows that a majority of women, people from 18 to 34, and renters were supportive; whereas a majority of men and a plurality of people over 55 and homeowners were opposed.

What can we take from this survey? It appears the community is split on the issue. However, it is interesting to note that on a very tough question on raising taxes, there was support to make the commitment. If the Climate Action and Energy Plan is implemented and we can demonstrate savings for both the community and municipal operations, that support should grow. Council has made no decision on whether to include a 1% CAEP tax in the current budget but will discuss this option at the April 9 budget meeting.