The federal government will invest $28.5 million to fund green infrastructure projects in British Columbia, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced Tuesday.
The money will go towards 11 projects across the province, including electric vehicle charging stations and an initiative in Vancouver that harnesses energy from heat released by sewage. As the federal government seeks to help Canada’s economy recover from COVID-19 shutdowns, the “critical, looming” crisis of climate change remains important, Wilkinson said.
“We are going to need to address these issues as part of any long-term recovery strategy,” he told reporters in Vancouver.
“Our government is committed to ensuring we build back better.”
The federal government has pledged to reach net-zero carbon pollution by 2050, but its full plan for hitting that target was delayed by COVID-19. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he intends to include green infrastructure in his government's economic recovery plan — he and former finance minister Bill Morneau, who resigned last month, reportedly clashed over the scope of those plans.
B.C,’s provincial government will contribute $18 million for the projects through its CleanBC Communities Fund, while local and Indigenous communities will pitch in more than $13 million, Wilkinson said.
More than 80 electric vehicle charging stations will be installed using the funding. Wilkinson said they’re aimed at creating jobs and making clean transportation more accessible.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said the clean energy projects that will receive some of the federal funding can help the city burn less natural gas. (The federal government has also subsidized the B.C. natural gas industry, to the tune of $275 million.)
“We cannot ignore the ongoing climate crisis we are seeing and now feeling globally,” Kennedy said.
Emma McIntosh / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada's National Observer