Terrace, B.C. and area residents deserving of honours, says city councillor

Sean Bujtas says northerners left out of spotlight, while city staff brief council on climate change upgrades

Recognizing successful northerners

More northerners should be honoured by the province, a Terrace city councillor said last night.

Sean Bujtas made the comment in examining a list of past Order of B.C. recipients during discussion on the call by the province for nominations for this year.

A letter from the government calls the Order of B.C “The highest honour the Province can bestow on its citizens for excellence and outstanding achievement.”

Since 1990, a total of 386 Order of B.C. awards have been given out, with Terracites being honoured twice – Edna Cooper and Robert Cooper in 1995. Chester Moore from Gingolx in the Nass Valley was named in 2014, former Prince Rupert mayor Peter Lester in 1994 and Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross in 2014.

“Like always, it seems like the north gets overlooked with things,” said Bujtas in calling out to people in the community to submit their nominations. “Terrace’s number . is actually not bad for the size of the community but it would be good to see more people in the area.”

“People need to be recognized,” Bujtas continued. “When they do good work and do things for the community they need to be recognized and they should be recognized. The Order of BC seems like a great way.”

Terrace’s carbon future

A letter from the provincial minister of the environment Mary Polak outlining future directions in climate change action was received by Terrace city council last night at the regular meeting.

The letter asks the city for comment on a number of policies that are on the horizon in 2016.

One is the new BC Climate Leadership Plan and the other would have B.C. and the other provinces joining a federal move to eventually cap national emissions at a sustainable level.

“B.C. is now taking the next step toward a low-carbon future, alongside new international momentum following the December 2015 Paris agreement, and new national momentum following the federal government’s commitment to develop a pan-Canadian framework for combatting climate change,” reads the Polak letter.

According to city planner Tara Irwin, who introduced the letter to council, someone from the city will attend an upcoming conference on the matter, even if it has to be by phone or video. As deputy mayor Stacey Tyers pointed out, the carbon input of a flight to Vancouver might be wrong-headed.

The letter points to 40 municipalities that have achieved carbon neutrality, but Irwin said afterwards that Terrace is a ways off from joining that club, though it has carbon neutrality pegged for some time in the future. Changes from above could give form to this aspiration, she noted.

“We will have to decide year to year what direction we want to take, and I think to some degree it will be informed by what happens in the provincial process, because they are making policy changes and amendments to the policy plan, so maybe it will broaden the number of eligible projects and make it easier to achieve carbon neutrality,” said Irwin.

According to audience member Martin Holzbauer who recently built an energy efficient home in Thornhill, it is his hope that part of the provincial government’s new direction will be to change how money from the current carbon tax is allocated, feeling that it should be put back into the hands of those who are undertaking energy efficient projects within municipalities.

“It would give extra funding to municipalities but not just for the municipality reducing its emissions from operations, but also if a person or a business reduces [their carbon footprint], that the community as a whole gets a benefit, as in the tax money,” said Holzbauer.