How to make your money grow 

WCSS urging residents to spend $100 climate action dividend on commercial greenhouse

When you receive your $100 climate action dividend cheque in the mail this month, Whistler Community Services Society executive director Greg McDonnell wants you to think hard about where you will spend the cash.

“I think there is an ethical choice we have to make in receiving that $100 on how we spend it,” said McDonnell.

“Do you put it in a tank of gas in your car, do you buy the latest fashion wear, do you buy the latest consumer style thing, or do you invest it in a community program which is going to have a lasting, sustainable impact on your community?”

As a result of this ethical choice, McDonnell is urging Whistler residents to donate their money to the WCSS’s commercial greenhouse program.

The commercial greenhouse program is working to build an 80,000 square foot organic greenhouse to grow and supply vegetables to both Whistler restaurants and consumers. The greenhouse will grow lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and herbs year-round to reduce the miles it takes for food to reach Whistler plates, as well as provide a local answer to the world food shortage.

“The commercial greenhouse is a huge initiative. It is a $2 million building. It is going to be the only one of its kind north of the 49 th parallel that operates year round and produces local organic vegetables,” said McDonnell.

“It is a very responsible and ethical choice, I believe, to donate it to the WCSS to go towards the commercial green house.”

The provincial government’s Climate Action Dividend is a one-time payment to every adult and child living in B.C. on Dec. 31, 2007. The $100 cheques are meant to be spent on actions that lead to a lower-carbon lifestyle.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler is also asking residents to invest their climate action dividend in the recently announced Home Energy Grants program.

Participants in the Home Energy Grants program will receive an assessment of their home’s energy use, as well as advice on how to make affordable upgrades that will reduce energy expenditure. Homeowners can receive more than $5,000 tax free for home energy improvements.

Most British Columbians should have received their dividend cheques on Monday, June 30. People who did not file their 2006/2007 income tax by April 30 will receive their dividend cheque when their tax returns are processed. Those who have not received their cheques by July 8 should call the Canada Revenue Agency.

The B.C. government distributed the $100 climate action dividend to soften the impact of the newly introduced carbon tax, which took effect on Canada Day, July 1. The carbon tax is levied against all carbon-based fuels — like gasoline, diesel, natural gas and home heating fuel — at a rate of $10 per tonne of green house gas generated. The rate will continue to increase by $5 per tonne each year until 2012, when it reaches a total of $30 per tonne.

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