By Steve Hubrecht

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The provincial government is wavering about making B.C. Energy Step Code Step 3 standards mandatory first thing in the new year, but the District of Invermere will go ahead and make it a requirement for all local new builds here.

Invermere mayor, Al Miller, clarified the move during the Tuesday, December 13 Invermere council meeting, noting that the district had previously said it would adopt Step 3 when the rest of B.C. did. That was supposed to happen January 1, but as Miller explained, “The province has been waffling somewhat on the start date…however Jan. 1 is still on our books (in Invermere) as the right date to go ahead with Step 3.”

The district sought clarification from the province on when B.C. would go to Step 3, outlined chief administrative officer (CAO), Andrew Young, “but they didn’t really provide it. They just said it wouldn’t be on Jan. 1.” Young added that, for Invermere, “it’s time to move on.”

Miller said the move would not likely have a big effect here in Invermere, since most home builders are already building to the standards of Step 3.

In another move, also discussed at the Dec. 13 meeting and also aimed at making the district a bit more environmentally friendly, council gave its blessing for Invermere staff to pursue a grant that, if successful, would see two electric vehicles purchased for the municipal fleet and would put an array of solar panels on top of the Invermere courthouse.

Invermere environmental planner, Anne-Sophie Corriveau, explained the e-vehicles and solar array would be an opportunity for the district to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The grant is through the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT)’s Basin Charge Up program and would cover 60 per cent ($87,000) of the total project costs of $142,000 for the e-vehicles and solar setup. The remaining 40 per cent ($55,000) would come from the district’s public works and machinery reserve fund or its environmental reserve fund, as well as from provincial and federal e-vehicle rebates worth up to $9,000.