A controversial proposal for parking permits for the entire city as part of the Vancouver Climate Action Plan failed Wednesday night, with Mayor Kennedy Stewart casting the deciding vote.
In a statement issued immediately after the vote, Stewart said he voted against the proposal because he felt it would unfairly affect lower-income residents.
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“It would have asked those who rent basement suites or work in vehicle-dependent jobs to pay more while asking homeowners with private parking not to pay anything,” Stewart said.
“An effective climate plan must be fair. I have asked the staff to find a better way forward and I am convinced that they will do so. ”
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The proposal essentially split the council down into party lines. The other five votes in opposition all came from councilors elected in the 2018 election under the banner of party-free association (the majority of which have since left the party).
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Council’s Green, COPE and One City members voted to back the plan.
“The very real price will be born of our residents in an already unaffordable city,” Coun said. Colleen Hardwick said as she did not cast a vote.
“What that means is taking more money out of the pockets of our residents simply and simply.”
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Green councilor Adriane Carr was visibly emotional when she expressed disappointment that the proposal failed.
“What will affect families? Climate change, more than you can imagine. What will be a financial burden? Climate change more than anything you can even imagine. ”
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“It is not our branding that is at stake or in danger, it is our planet, it is our future, it is the future of our children. It is not about choosing the best approach, it is about taking all possible measures to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. ”
Green Pete Fry said the defeat showed some council members were prepared to talk about climate action, but “the literal putting our money where our mouths are is just not there.”
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The decision came after a marathon of presentations and speakers with a clear division in public opinion on the proposal.
Some speakers called the program a cash grab, while others said it would get rid of people with private parking off the hook. Proponents argued that it would cement the city as a climate leader, saying car owners are currently receiving subsidies in the form of free parking from the city.
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If approved, the program would have applied an annual parking fee of $ 45 for residents who parked their vehicles on the street between midnight and 6 p.m. 07.00. Low-income residents would have been able to apply for a fee reduction to $ 5 per year.
It would also have included a pollution tax of $ 1,000 for certain new luxury or high-emission vehicles purchased after 2023.
The parking permit program should have been part of the city’s climate action plan, which seeks to reduce Vancouver’s carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2030.
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The permits were presented as an incentive for residents to choose vehicles with lower emissions while financing some of the other goals of the plan.
Staff had estimated that the licensing system would have generated up to $ 68 million in each of the first four years.
Without revenue generated by the permits, the climate action plan must rely on money from high levels of government, increased property taxes or money redistributed from other parts of the city’s budget.
– with files from Elizabeth McSheffrey
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