Vancouver city council will vote Thursday on whether to move forward with a nine-year action plan that aims to make Vancouver the “greenest city” in the world by 2020.
Deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston outlined the Greenest City Action Plan to council Tuesday (July 12), which proposes both short-term and long-term environmental measures, from reducing water consumption to doubling the number of green jobs in Vancouver in the next decade.
“We see this plan as a road map of sorts, a potential path to achieving our vision of the greenest city,” said Johnston.
He noted that the plan is focused around the areas of carbon, waste and ecosystems.
Among the priority, short-term measures proposed in the plan is requiring water metering on all new single family and duplex homes by next year.
Other short-term actions include expanding the city’s compost collection service, encouraging electric vehicle transportation, planting 15,000 new trees on city property within the next three years, launching a public bicycle sharing program, and developing financing tools for building retrofits.
The actions outlined in the plan fall under 10 areas, including climate leadership, creating green jobs, and reducing the city’s carbon footprint.
Johnston noted that one of the plan’s green transportation strategies, to implement rapid transit infrastructure on the Broadway corridor, requires cooperation from the city’s partners, such as TransLink.
“We really need our partners to be engaged in the section of the plan – we can’t do this alone,” he said.
Under actions recommended to bolster the city’s food supply are measures such as creating 15 new community gardens, three new urban farms, and two new farmer’s markets.
Several councillors praised the document and city staff for their efforts on the plan, which incorporated resources from across multiple departments.
Mayor Gregor Robertson called the plan “an extraordinary, world-leading plan to be the greenest city in the world”.
Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs called the document the “most comprehensive” thing he’s seen since he’s been paying attention to city hall.
However, Non-Partisan Association councillor Suzanne Anton wanted to see a reference in the report to forest industry jobs, what she called the “backbone” of the Vancouver economy.
In his presentation, Johnston noted that 35,000 people were engaged on the plan, as part of one of the largest public consultations the city has undertaken since the mid-1990s.
“We had pretty high-level engagement from over 9,500 people,” he said.
The Greenest City Action Team advisory committee was launched in February 2009 and was given a mandate to make recommendations to help make Vancouver become the “greenest city” in the world by 2020.
City council will hear from speakers this Thursday before voting on whether to support the plan in principle. Councillors will then vote on whether to adopt the water metering proposal.