B.C. Liberals to repeal Vancouver natural gas ban

VANCOUVER — The B.C. Liberals say they will repeal a City of Vancouver plan the party claims prohibits natural gas in some new buildings, but the city says no such ban exists.

Andrew Wilkinson, candidate for Vancouver-Quilchena, said on Saturday the city’s ban would increase costs to consumers, businesses and residents because it would raise building costs and create a reliance on electricity, which is more expensive.

In a statement responding to the announcement, the city said it has no plans for an outright ban on the use of natural gas.

The city does have a new building policy, which goes into effect Monday, that sets energy efficiency and emissions targets for new construction on rezoned lots.

“Developers can choose to build new buildings with natural gas, provided they can meet the energy efficiency and emissions targets,” the statement said, adding the targets require a 50 per cent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

Documents from a city presentation on Friday explain that the regulation will typically apply to taller residential or commercial buildings, which account for about 55 per cent of new development.

Wilkinson said if the Liberals form the government after the May 9 election, they’ll change the Vancouver Charter that allows the city to dictate its own building codes in order to repeal restrictions on natural gas.

“It’s essential that Vancouverites be able to keep their costs down. We do not support processes and programs that drive up costs,” he said.

Coun. Andrea Reimer said she’s perplexed by Wilkinson’s statements, which do not represent the facts of the city’s plan.

“It’s definitely a concern when a candidate in an election campaign is using inaccurate information,” she said. “There is no ban, ergo legislation to stop a ban would functionally have no impact.”

She said the city is moving to reduce emissions and encourage the use of renewable resources over the 35 years, but there is no intention to ban natural gas.

A statement the city issued in February said natural gas would still be allowed in new buildings under six storeys for use in fireplaces, cooking ranges, furnaces, domestic hot water and laundry dryers.

These changes have been in the works since November 2015 when the city approved its strategy to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy use by 2050.

Wilkinson said the Liberals waited until now to take a stance on the issue because changes to the city’s building code go into effect Monday.

“It’s timely to get out the word now so people don’t make decisions and face a flip-flop in the city of Vancouver. We want the status quo to continue,” he said.

But Reimer said the city’s new building regulation, which was approved in November 2016, aligns with the province’s recent B.C. Energy Step Code that requires improved energy efficiency for buildings.

“It does exactly the same thing as the policies we’d be bringing in, although our policy applies to much fewer buildings than the Step Code applies to,” she said.

The city’s statement said its move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is necessary in order to combat climate change, while supporting the “green building sector” and making energy costs more affordable.

“The province states that the Vancouver region will need to invest over $10 billion in preparing and adapting to climate change due to sea level rise and increased storms and droughts. Only by reducing greenhouse gases today can we ensure this number does not increase,” said a statement from the city.

Just Posted

Local haunted house offers a chilling Halloween experience

Chad and Jarita Carlson’s annual venture also supports the Lacombe Food Bank

WATCH: Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off 2018 dancers revealed

In partnership with 2019 Canada Winter Games

Local church welcomes LGBTQ community

Gaetz Memorial United Church declares itself an Affirming Ministry

At mid-mandate and with extra cash, Liberals to chart fiscal course toward 2019

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government, right at the midpoint of its mandate,… Continue reading

Voter turnout down in this election

The voter turnout was estimated to be about 17 per cent, down from previous election

WATCH: A magical Harry Potter weekend in downtown Red Deer

Wizards, witches and muggles are flocking to downtown Red Deer to celebrate… Continue reading

Jason Kenney will be in Red Deer on Monday

The UCP candidate is hosting a series of town hall

Sylvan’s talent on display for fundraising show

Sylvan Lake Refugee Project is hosting Sylvan’s Got Talent Nov. 3

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Sockey Night at Saturday’s Rebels game

United Way Central Alberta is determined to provide warm feet for all… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month