New $125K St. John's climate change position should 'pay for itself': councillor
Councillor says the goal is to find ways to reduce waste and cost, and to trigger federal funding
The City of St. John's plans to pay a new climate change co-ordinator about $125,000 a year, but expects the position to pay for itself — and more.
The position was announced Monday in the 2019 budget.
Coun. Ian Froude told The St. John's Morning Show the intent is to have someone in the public works department looking across all city operations for ways to reduce the city's environmental impact as well as cost.
"The intent is that this position will essentially pay for itself and more in spades, and that's the hope and intent and plan for that role," he said.
As an example, Froude said, waste decomposition at the Riverhead treatment plant produces methane.
"Right now, at that facility we're using that methane to heat our buildings and recharge the decomposition process within that facility, and that's saving us about $100,000 a year in oil costs," he said. "So the intent of this position is to identify those sorts of initiatives that both have the role of reducing our costs and reducing our environmental impact."
Position allows city to access federal funding
The position comes with a salary of about $125,000, which Froude said reflects the specialized skills of someone in the job. He said having the position will let the city access other sources of funding.
"The federal government has significant programs to address greenhouse gas emissions and environmental initiatives, so having this person within allows us to tap into that source of funding," he said.
We're confident that we'll be able to find a strong candidate to take on that role and that opportunity.- Ian Froude
Pointing to the example of the Riverhead waste treatment plant again, Froude said St. John's might be able to get carbon-tax credits for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, providing revenue for the city.
"We're confident that we'll be able to find a strong candidate to take on that role and that opportunity," he said.
Froude said the city hopes to fill the position in the new year.