British Columbia

Vancouver council approves plan that could set fees to drive into downtown core

Vancouver city council has approved a Climate Emergency Action Plan that could see a levy placed on all vehicles entering the downtown core.

Plan also proposes a carbon pollution surcharge on gas or diesel vehicles

City staff are set to meet with residents and businesses over the next year and a half. (Peter Scobie/CBC)

Vancouver city council has approved a Climate Emergency Action Plan that could see a levy placed on all vehicles entering the downtown core.

Green Party Coun. Pete Fry said in a social media post that council voted in favour of the plan Tuesday night.

It's said to be part of a drive to make Vancouver one of the greenest cities in the world.

Another section of the plan proposes a carbon pollution surcharge on gas or diesel vehicles.

The entire strategy is not slated to take effect until at least 2025 and meetings will be held over the next 18 months to gather public reaction.

Fry says a lot of work lies ahead to address issues related to equity, economy and resilience.

"To be sure, there will be a lot of consultation on transport pricing" Fry says in his post.

He says by the time the plan is implemented in 2025, other North American cities will have similar strategies that "will make this seem less scary."

Possible exemptions

One City Party Coun. Christine Boyle said council voted on 37 parts of the plan Tuesday, which includes the mobility pricing component, and she expects city staff to start presenting reports and bylaws for council in early 2021.

"We passed an emergency scale plan that addresses the [climate] crisis at the scale that the science tells us is necessary," said Boyle on CBC's The Early Edition on Wednesday. 

She said all aspects of the plan will be studied by city staff, including possible exemptions or discounts.

"There is work to be done on how to make sure these actions are not making life harder for people with disabilities or for low-income people in particular," said Boyle.

Coun. Rebecca Bligh said it is possible the city's plan will provide exemptions for businesses, low-income earners and people who are accessing medical care in the downtown core.

To hear councillors Boyle and Bligh speak more about the Climate Emergency Action Plan on CBC's The Early Edition, tap the audio link below:

Councillors Rebecca Bligh and Christine Boyle speak with Stephen Quinn about the city's newest attempt at addressing climate change. 9:00

With files from The Canadian Press and The Early Edition

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