Vancouver City Council removes controversial climate parking program

The Vancouver City Council failed to pass a new Climate Emergency Parking Program designed to provide revenue to combat climate change, with six votes against the plan and five in support of it.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who cast the decisive vote Wednesday night, joined five councilors originally elected under the Non-Partisan Association banner in opposition.

Stewart pointed out that the proposed program would have a disproportionate impact on middle- and low-income families and asked staff to find a better way forward.

“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. And these unequal results would be anchored,” Stewart said in a statement.

The Climate Emergency Action Plan has two separate but coherent aspects: one would have made all streets in the city subject to night parking permits that would have cost $ 45 annually or $ 5 for low-income residents and a $ 3 per night fee for visitors who living outside the city.

The other would have raised the price of high-emission street parking permits to $ 500 or $ 1,000 a year, but only on new vehicles with a mark of 2023 or later.

One aspect of the Climate Emergency Parking Program would have increased the cost of street parking permits for high-emission vehicles to $ 500 or $ 1,000 a year on new vehicles with a mark of 2023 or later. (City of Vancouver)

The proposal had been in place for almost a year and is related to the city’s climate satisfaction goal of promoting active transport and zero-emission vehicles.

A staff report showed that an additional $ 230 million in additional funding is needed to fully fund the emergency action plan and that the parking program can cover about a quarter of that amount.

City staff estimated that the program would raise between $ 44 million and $ 72 million by 2025, with the money going to projects such as bus-priority lanes, 100 new curb ramps, the planting of 1,000 trees and the installation of new charging stations.

The city’s goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent by encouraging less polluting vehicle purchases and reducing air and carbon pollution.

The city says about 10 percent of the city’s residential roads require parking permits, and new zones that have only accommodation would have covered the remaining streets.

Response to the parking proposal

During the six-hour public commentary on Wednesday, many argued that the city needed to encourage other forms of transportation, saying that free overnight stays on the streets were unequal because it subsidized car users.

Green Party councilor Adriane Carr burst into tears as she tried to persuade her councilors to vote for the plan.

“It’s not about choosing the best approach. It’s about taking all possible actions we can to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and ensure our children have a future. I’m a grandmother and I’m sorry if I’m emotional about this, but every day I think about their future.A nine-month-old grandson and a three-year-old grandson are going to live in [year] 2100. “

Carr explained that after attending a conference on climate change in Berlin and listening to scientists, she fears that Vancouver will experience temperatures as high as 50 C by 2100 if no steps are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Opponents of the policy, however, argued that it was not fair because it only affected street parking – meaning the change would have primarily affected drivers without a garage or dedicated residential parking. Others said it was a tax grab, or that it was a matter to be left to regional or provincial governments.

Under the program, there would have been exemptions from the annual fee on existing higher polluting vehicles with a mark of 2022 or older, and vehicles for the disabled.

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