Summerland council agrees to use Climate Action Reserve Spending on local established projects

Delving into local projects

Summerland council decided not to delve into where its "Climate Action Reserve" would be best spent, rather deciding to hear back from the district departments on projects that could use the funding.

On Tuesday, district staff told council that because of the March 2028 deadline to spend the reserve, they recommend the use of the funds be determined soon.

In the past, Summerland has put money towards the "Eco Village Project," the "Food Hub," and the "Climate Action Plan and Energy Strategy."

Some community projects are recommended by the "Community Climate Advisory Committee," which included suggestions such as using funds to support the implementation of the "Active Transportation Plan" and creating a funding program for local businesses and commercial spaces to install bike racks and storage facilities.

The committee also suggested the development of a "Food Security Strategy," with the possibility of creating or expanding a community garden or funding a program that supports private food gardens.

According to staff, the provincial government deposited $351,849 for 2024, 2025 and 2026 in District of Summerland coffers on March 31, 2024.

The provincial government expects accumulated funds to be used by March 31, 2028. At the end of 2024, it is expected the district’s "Climate Action Reserve" fund will have a project balance of $673,229.

Coun. Adrienne Betts noted that she would be in support of the active transportation plan, using some of the funds to create more places for people to lock up their bikes downtown.

“It’s important to differentiate between bike racks and storage facilities for bikes, and there’s a hugely different price tag,” she added.

“I would not support building infrastructure for people to store their bikes inside buildings, but I would be absolutely enthralled to have more places to lock up bikes downtown.”

She also mentioned that she was reluctant about the staff recommendations for additional sustainability staff, which other councillors and the mayor agreed with.

“I am looking at supporting concrete missions that we already know about at this time,” Betts said.

Coun. Janet Peake suggested looking at improving walking trails through the active transportation plan, along with encouraging connection with the local food bank on food security.

Overall, council agreed that looking inward and using the money to get projects operational would be the best way to move forward.

Council decided to have staff consult with the district departments to determine projects that could be funded through the Climate Action Reserve Fund, and report back.

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