Mon. Aug 15th, 2022

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A plan to charge overnight parking fees on Vancouver streets has been shot down by the city council, with the mayor casting the deciding vote opposing the move Wednesday.

The staff Climate Emergency Parking Program proposed a permit for vehicles parked between 6 p.m. 12 and at 7 at a flat rate of $ 45.45 per year. Low-income households would have paid a reduced fee of $ 5 per year. In addition, an annual “pollution tax” of up to $ 1,000 would have been added for cars purchased after 2023 that do not meet certain emissions targets.

These recommendations, according to city staff, are being made as part of an overall effort to reduce emissions and to “help Vancouver contribute its fair share of global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C.”

Mayor Kennedy Stewart voted against the plan, but did not explain why during the meeting. In a statement issued afterwards, he said he made the decision after hearing from dozens of speakers and with “careful consideration” of the report.

“I believe in a strong and urgent climate effort, but I also believe that these actions must be fair. I think most of us who live in Vancouver share these values, ”he wrote.

“Unfortunately, the proposed permit parking system did not meet this test. 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. An effective climate action plan must be fair. I have asked the staff to find a better way forward and I am convinced that they will do so. ”

In the 6-5 vote, Stewart saw the vote along with NPA councilor Melissa De Genova and four independent councilors — all of whom joined the NPA when they were elected — Colleen Hardwick, Lisa Dominato, Rebecca Bligh, and Sarah Kirby-Yung. Green Council members Pete Fry, Adriane Carr and Michael Wiebe supported the plan along with OneCity’s Christine Boyle and COPE’s Jean Swanson.

RELATED: Vancouver parking fee increase splits council, frustrates expert

Members in favor of the plan cited the climate crisis, saying it is an emergency that requires an urgent response and that it is up to the city to act within its limited jurisdiction.

Boyle urged his colleagues to support the plan even though they had questions about the details and said concerns about where the revenue will go and how the fees will be rolled out are issues that can be resolved.

“These are the conversations we should have in an informed way without inflammatory allegations, without direct rejection without proposing other solutions. I want to be very clear about this – doing nothing is no more reasonable than this proposal, defending the status quo in the middle of a climate case is unjustifiable and should be unacceptable, “she said.

“The status quo is unsafe roads and sidewalks, poor air quality, slow and crowded buses and missing climate targets. We are facing a code red for humanity. Maintaining the status quo is a management mistake. This proposal is not perfect because the tools we have are limited, but voting down without proposing something that can replace it is a failure of courage and creativity. ”

Concerns about the impact of this particular policy on total equity and affordable prices in the city, Boyle said, have been misplaced.

The proposal is $ 45 a year, $ 3.75 a month or $ 5 a year for those who can not afford more. If we are really so concerned about poverty and equality, there is much more we can do to address inequalities throughout our city, including better funding for public and community services, on which low- and middle-income residents throughout our city depend. ”

Carr pointed to this summer’s deadly heat dome and the devastating fire that devastated Lytton as recent events underscoring the dangers of climate change.

“It’s our planet, it’s our future, it’s our children’s future that is at stake. It’s not about choosing the best approach – it’s about taking all possible actions we can, “she said, finally appealing to opponents.

“I urge you to reconsider your vote on this and adopt this plan, because it takes action that will concretely reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which will concretely raise money to put other measures in our action plan on climate aid into force – and we have run out for time, we must do this now. ”

Vancouver Street Parking

Arguments that opposed the plan focused on the fact that people who have garages, driveways or parking lots should not pay anything at all.

Dominato expressed his opposition, saying the practice was seen as “unreasonable taxation” by residents who gave their feedback.

“We all agree that climate change and response are a priority throughout this country, across this province and throughout the city. I think what we disagree with is the approach in this case at the local level, ”she said.

De Genova said she has never been in favor of this proposal and voted against the recommendation to ask staff to propose the plan in the first place. She even adds a small amount each year to the city’s affordability, and that she thinks incentives are a better way to reduce emissions than fees.

“The kind of people we want to charge are people who lost their jobs during the pandemic, who do not know that we are discussing it right now – they are childcare workers, they are home care workers, they are traffickers.”

“We go much further with carrots than we do with sticks.”

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