The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine planning committee, economic development commission and board of directors met Friday, June 19, 2020 in the boardroom and over teleconference. (Ben Bogstie)

The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine planning committee, economic development commission and board of directors met Friday, June 19, 2020 in the boardroom and over teleconference. (Ben Bogstie)

Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine achieved carbon neutrality in 2019

The district reported net negative greenhouse gas emissions

Here’s a summary of key discussions from the June 19, 2020 full board meeting of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.

The meeting was originally supposed to take place in Kitimat. Due to COVID-19 precautions, some directors and staff were present at the RDKS boardroom in Terrace and sat two metres apart. Some called in to the meeting. There were seats for four members of the public to attend safely.

The district’s goal is to have live streaming in place for the August 2020 board meeting.

Electoral Area D Projects

The board approved the use of $135,349 of Electoral Area D Federal Gas Tax funds to construct a community playground in Telegraph Creek. The board also approved $26,000 from the funds for the refurbishment of Sawmill Lake amenities.

Electoral Area D includes the communities of Telegraph Creek, Iskut, Bob Quinn, Glenora and Tatogga. Dave Brocklebank is the director for the area.

Officially, the money will come from the Gas Tax Community Works Fund. The playground will be part of a ‘community social area,’ located within 200 metres of the recreation centre, Elder’s complex and local store in Telegraph Creek. The Tahltan First Nation is managing both projects.

“The playground is much needed in the community, there is none, the children need something but that’s self explanatory,” said Brocklebank.

The second project will refurbish the dock at Sawmill Lake. Water was drawn from the lake to combat wildfires in 2018 and the old dock is now out of the water – too high to be usable. A public toilet will be added and the playground at the preschool will be relocated to the lake.

Combined, the projects total $161,349, just under half of the Electoral Area D Gas Tax Community Works Fund’s current balance of $330,946.

Carbon Neutrality

The regional district was scored at level four of the Green Communities Committee Climate Action Recognition Program, meaning it has achieved carbon neutrality in 2019.

With GHG Accounting Ltd., the district measured how much fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are caused by delivering RDKS services in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). Last year, the district emitted 942 tCO2e while delivering services.

The household organic composting program helped reduce emissions by 2,482 tCO2e by diverting those materials from the landfill. When organic materials end up in a landfill they undergo anaerobic decomposition and produce a large amount of methane, a very strong greenhouse gas.

By diverting those materials to a compost facility, the regional district prevented anaerobic decomposition of 1,654 tonnes of organic matter, which is equivalent to 2,482 tCO2e.

Also, a solar powered candlestick flare system was installed at the closed Thornhill Landfill to reduce unintended emissions. That created a reduction of 228 tCO2e.

So, for the year the district emitted 942 tCO2e, but saved 2,710 tCO2e from being emitted, resulting in a net negative of 1,768 tCO2e.

Property Tax Exemptions

My Mountain Co-op and the Skeena Valley Golf & Country Club are exempt from paying RDKS property taxes in 2021. Both properties have been exempted from property taxes by the regional district before.

The exemption is similar to tax breaks other municipal governments give to arenas and community groups.

The district will not collect around 54 per cent of the Skeena Valley Golf & Country Club’s total tax levy of an estimated $41,000, and 40 per cent of My Mountain Co-op’s levy of $6,000.

In total, the district will not be collecting a total of $24,800 from the two properties.

“It’s huge, a ski hill business is not a money making business,” said Christian Théberge, general manager at My Mountain Cooperative, Shames Mountain.

“Us being privately owned by the community there are no pockets to come bail us out, there’s nowhere to go to but us standing on our own two feet. We’re a pretty small business, we do an excellent job but even at that any break we can get really goes a long way.”

The next Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine regular board meeting is scheduled for August 14, 2020.

READ MORE: Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine office in Terrace is now open to the public


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