Citizens for Safe Technology prods Vancouver city council for action on smart meters
Downtown Vancouver–based actressJoely Collins believes Vancouver city council can make a huge statement on the smart meter issue by joining cities like Burnaby, Richmond, and White Rock in putting renewed pressure on the provincial government to enact a moratorium.
“I’m really frustrated by it, because obviously Vancouver is a very powerful municipality, and so by them not moving forward in this…they could potentially have the ability to swing the change on this,” Collins, daughter of English musician Phil Collins, told the Straight by phone. “I just really wish that Vancouver would get onboard and address the real issues.”
Collins said she and her mother, Gulf Islands–based environmentalist Andrea Collins, have been working with Citizens for Safe Technology to try and get all municipalities to call for a moratorium on mandatory installation of the meters.
As of April 4, 39 municipalities had asked for either a moratorium or an opt-out clause over health and privacy concerns, with Vancouver being the notable holdout, according to the CST website.
The pressure is being brought to bear because Energy Minister Rich Coleman ignored a motion, passed at the 2011 Union of B.C. Municipalities annual convention in Vancouver, calling for a moratorium on B.C. Hydro’s installation of the meters, which will see a total of 1.8 million of the devices in homes and businesses by the end of the year.
Speaking by phone, Andrea Collins said she and Joely have contacted Mayor Gregor Robertson and council many times.
“[Coun.] Andrea Reimer was the one I spoke to the most, and she just said, ‘We have other, more important issues to deal with,’ ” Andrea Collins told the Straight. “She didn’t see it as important enough an issue to put it on the agenda.…Until someone actually makes a motion and puts it on the agenda [at council], we can’t speak.”
Coun. Kerry Jang ruled out that possibility.
“No, we will not bring a motion to council, simply because the evidence is mixed,” Jang told the Straight by phone from his office at City Hall. “It’s not clear, and so we want to take it through the UBCM. There is no need for a motion through council, because we have no authority to enforce the moratorium.”
Jang was elected to the UBCM executive following his reelection under the Vision Vancouver banner last November. He said he voted in favour of the 2011 moratorium and expected it to come back this year in slightly revised form. Jang, a UBC professor of psychiatry, was hesitant to offer a personal opinion on smart meters.
“As a scientist, I look at the data,” he said. “So I cannot willingly sign on to something, or endorse a motion in council, when I think that the evidence is not there.”
Jang said he will meet with anyone wanting to discuss the issue, if they put in a formal request at City Hall.