Evergreen Line contractor will face penalties for late completion

Plus, what’s next for B.C.’s carbon tax and aid for refugees in Greece

Tunnel vision
Tunnel boring for the 11-kilometre-long Evergreen SkyTrain line extension is finished. The line itself, however, will not be operational until early 2017, the B.C. government revealed today. It was originally scheduled to open in summer of 2016. The Evergreen line will eventually link Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam to Vancouver.

EGRT Construction, responsible for designing, constructing, test commissioning and partially financing the project, is required to substantially complete it by July 29, 2016 or be subject to a financial penalty for every day of delay.

Carbon neutral
Just in time for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris November 30, the B.C. Climate Leadership Team has released its recommendations to the government. These include not only recommencing annual increases in the carbon tax starting in 2018 when the carbon tax freeze ends but also expanding the carbon tax to include non-combustion sources of carbon pollution that can be accurately measured.

The government has responded that it “would only consider an increase in the carbon tax under a regime where emission-intensive, trade-exposed industries are fully protected from any carbon tax increase.”

The CLT notes that B.C.’s carbon tax is working both economically and environmentally. “Independent research has found that since the implementation of the tax, fuel use in B.C. has dropped by 16 per cent per capita, while it has risen three per cent per capita in the rest of Canada. Within the same timeframe, between 2007 and 2013, B.C.’s real GDP grew 9.2 per cent (more than the Canadian average).”

Generous response
He came, he saw, he decided to make a difference. After visting Lesbos, ground zero for refugees fleeing Syria, B.C. mining magnate and philanthropist Frank Giustra is contributing to the International Rescue Committee to build a reception centre and other infrastructure on the island. It will provide “critical services such as water and sanitation facilities that are imperative to prevent disease and will give refugees a warm and safe place to spend the night before making their 40 mile journey to registration points,” he writes on Huffington Post. “The IRC site will be located directly adjacent to the beaches where most refugees arrive so that aid can be immediately provided.”

Giustra has contributed $500,000 of the $5 million required to get the reception centre up and running by the end of December. (via Globe and Mail)