Further to recent progress reports, and in light of the fact citizens around the world are celebrating Earth Day this week, I am writing to update you on some of the measures we are taking to ensure the City of Vancouver it doing its part to protect the environment. In this report we are featuring:
Better urban planning and increased density can help save our planet - and in the face of rising energy prices - make our economy more competitive.
In honour of Earth Day, Councillor Suzanne Anton and I made a "30 Days of Sustainability Pledge" which includes the following measures:
These measures complement our extensive record on the environment over the last two and a half years - including last month's announcement to deliver new buses for Fraser Street and new Skytrain cars for the Expo Line.
Another element of our sustainability pledge was to support the efforts of other levels of government to protect the environment. Last week, the provincial government introduced legislation to help municipalities and regional districts create more compact, sustainable and greener communities.
Bill 27 supports the goals and objectives we have identified in our EcoDensity plan, and I again want to commend the Premier and Community Services Minister Ida Chong for bringing this forward. Next week at City Council, we will introduce a motion endorsing this new legislation. It reads as follows:
WHEREAS the Province of British Columbia has announced the introduction of Bill 27, a series of measures that empower municipalities to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and require other sustainability features in both long term plans and individual developments;
AND WHEREAS, the City of Vancouver has been a national and international leader in sustainable development;
AND WHEREAS many elements of Bill 27 directly support the goals of Ecodensity:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED; that the Mayor write to the Premier expressing Council's full support for Bill 27, and that the Mayor request a meeting between Provincial Staff and City Staff to discuss the implementation of Bill 27, in particular opportunities for the City of Vancouver to take a leading role in the implementation of the Bill and the development of policies, best practices, and training.
Another commitment we made in our sustainability pledge is to participate in community celebrations and events that promote clean and safe neighbourhoods. We are not wasting any time!
This weekend, I will be participating in two special volunteer events. We are launching the Keep Vancouver Spectacular city-wide litter clean-up program tomorrow at the Laughing Bean Coffee Company in the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood.
On Sunday, I will be participating in a similar event in Chinatown. Last year, the program again reached a new participation record with 13,500 volunteers joining together in 130 teams to fill over 6,000 bags with litter.
Citizens can register to be a cleanup volunteer or block captain by visiting vancouver.ca/kvs or calling 604-871-6544. We will provide supplies garbage bags, gloves, vests, grabber tongs, waste collection and disposal services.
In addition to making our city more competitive in the face of rising gas prices, the land use decisions which will flow from Vancouver's EcoDensity proposal will have a significant impact on reducing city greenhouse gas emissions.
Earlier this month, we completed the latest phase of public consultation on the EcoDensity Charter. Since it was first introduced two years ago, this plan has included one of the most extensive public involvement plans in the history of Vancouver.
As a result of the input we have received - and further to our sustainability pledge, City staff will now make adjustments to the EcoDensity Charter and action items. You will have an opportunity to review these changes and provide input before City Council makes decisions in June.
If concerns about rising fuel prices and the availability of housing options are not enough to underscore the need to implement EcoDensity and Bill 27, these facts may help: