A new plan to provide Yukoners with low-interest loans for green home improvements has been delayed by the Legislature after a struggle for municipal buy-in.
“I have no doubts that this bill will come back to the House next spring to be resolved in its entirety as we work out the details with municipalities on how we are going to deliver this program to Yukoners collaboratively, together,” said Highways and Public Works. Minister Richard Mostyn on December 1.
The bill tabled in the House would change the Assessment and Taxation Act and the Municipalities Act to enable an expansive new government loan program.
The new loan program, dubbed “Better Building” by the government, would provide a loan of up to $ 50,000 to homeowners to make specific green energy upgrades to their homes, such as adding insulation. or airtightness.
The goal of the Our Clean Future climate change strategy is to complete 2,000 residential, commercial and institutional energy retrofits by 2030, and launch the Energy Retrofit Loan Program by the start of this year. 2021.
The Liberals had planned to pass the law by the end of the sitting, but the support of the municipalities – which would raise the funds – was lacking. On this basis, the NDP has indicated that it will not support the law.
To avoid losing the vote, NDP Leader Kate White and Minister Richard Mostyn have agreed to postpone the final reading until the spring 2022 sitting.
“I have the impression that what happened was that there was a compromise. I didn’t want to see this bill die today. I didn’t want to see the potential of this program die out today. I did everything in my power to make sure this didn’t happen, so I’m grateful my appeals were heard and what I was offering was accepted, ”White said.
After the law is passed, municipalities such as Whitehorse and Watson Lake will be able to register, allowing their residents to participate in the program.
The cost of paying off the low-interest loan would be added to property tax bills – which municipalities say places a burden on them to administer the government program, including unknowns such as what happens if someone defaults on a loan.
Mostyn said he was dedicated to researching details and finding a solution over the coming months to involve municipalities, including providing funds to cover administrative burdens.
Unincorporated communities, such as Carcross or Teslin, would be administered directly by the Government of Yukon and would automatically be accepted.
Building heating accounts for 21% of the Yukon’s greenhouse gas emissions, and many older buildings are not as well insulated as new ones. As part of the program, the government plans to work with homeowners to determine which improvements would result in at least 20% energy savings.
The loans would be tied to the property, rather than to an individual, and could be transferred in a sale. The funds are supposed to be both low barrier and easy to access, linked to the Bank of Canada’s interest rate, which currently stands at 0.25%.
“It’s the lowest interest rate in the country, and it allows homeowners to take on projects that might otherwise be prohibitive,” Mostyn said.
“We are facing a climate emergency. What is more important? What could be more important than taking concrete action to deal with a climate emergency? I can’t think of anything – nothing at all, ”he said.
The Yukon Party criticized the Liberals for what they called a failure to consult with communities before introducing the bill.
Contact Haley Ritchie at [email protected]