Sooke Council’s budget meeting scheduled for November 15, 2021, was cancelled due to flooding. The agenda prepared for the cancelled meeting indicates that Council is considering cutting the $226,000 budget recommended by its own Climate Action Committee by more than half.
Before doing so, Sooke Council needs to consider the costs our province has incurred in 2021 due to climate change:
|2021 Climate Events in BC||Costs|
|June Heat Dome Deaths||570 people, mostly people with disabilities and the elderly-at-risk|
|651,000 agricultural animals|
|Almost all young chinook salmon|
|75% of commercial shellfish|
|1 billion marine animals|
|Summer Wildfires||1522 wildfires|
|2,179,007 acres burned|
|$565 million in fire fighting|
|181 Evacuation Orders|
|Town of Lytton destroyed|
|November Atmospheric Floods||40 road closures|
|275 people airlifted from landslides|
|Rainfall records broken in 20 locations|
|7,000 evacuated in Merritt|
The insurance, repair and recovery costs of these 3 climate change incidences are still being calculated and are expected to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
It makes no common or financial sense, in the light of these three tragedies, to cut Sooke’s Climate Action budget by more than 50%. We no longer can ask if the Climate Emergency is real. Instead we need to ask how can we help and what can Sooke do to avoid becoming a climate casualty. We need to adequately fund our climate initiatives starting with a full-time climate coordinator and incentive programs to encourage Sooke residents to reduce their GHG emissions.
Sincerely, J. Kent
SPN Note: On November 1, Sooke Council considered a tax increase of 17% (see the minutes here). Council directed staff to reduce that increase to 3% to 5%. Staff responded with a 3% to 7% tax increase, which was to be considered at the cancelled November 15 meeting. That meeting has been moved to Tuesday, November 23, starting at 6 pm.