The District of Squamish is pursuing a FortisBC Senior Energy Specialist (SES) position to assist the district in reaching its climate action goals.
FortisBC offers funding for an SES position to help local governments reach their climate action goals.
District staff is concerned that affiliating Squamish with FortisBC may affect the town’s ‘brand’ and some community members may vocally oppose this decision.
FortisBC operates LNG facilities, and Squamish has recently made decisions that do not support local LNG development, largely based on climate considerations.
Council and staff may face scrutiny and criticism, and so can the person hired for the position, according to a memo to council.
The program offers funding up to $100,000 for one year for the position, and then 80% of the funding with the possibility of 80% again for the third year.
The SES position is hired and supervised by the municipality, and works on areas prioritises by FortisBC, which include step codes, home retrofits, energy conservation and electric vehicle infrastructure as well as natural gas.
FortisBC usually targets larger communities, but Squamish has been identified as a potential partner based on the strength of its Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP).
While there is concern about how aligning with FortisBC will look to the public, staff also notes there is a large overlap between the town’s priorities and those of the SES position. Funding would provide vital support and capacity to reach and exceed CCAP goals, says staff.
“Fortis is an energy company, not just a fossil fuel-oriented company. Fortis Inc. has a variety of holdings, not all fossil fuel related,” the staff also notes.
The staff carefully considered purusing this position and ultimately decided that it was worth pursuing.
“This represents an important opportunity to assist Squamish in achieving its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets,” staff says.