City shouldn’t be pushing electric cars, says Red Deer councillor

Future demand will affect Red Deer’s electrical grid, responds city supervisor

It’s not the City of Red Deer’s role to steer the public toward buying low-emissions or electric vehicles, says Coun. Vesna Higham.

She made this comment Monday evening during the unveiling of the updated environmental master plan.

Originally developed in 2011, the “refreshed” plan is designed to provide a road map for the city and Red Deerians for improved environmental performance over 25 years.

Goals and measurable efficiency targets are included on usage of water, air quality, waste, energy, ecology and community design.

Developing an electric and low-emissions vehicle strategy “with corporate and community aspects” is included in the plan update.

Higham and fellow councillor and acting mayor Tanya Handley raised concerns about the city directing private buying patterns.

Higham said the city can encourage more use of the transit system, or urge citizens to consume less water, because the municipality runs the transit and water treatment systems, so it has a stake in being prescriptive.

She didn’t see why the city should try to guide private-sector car purchases — particularly when electric vehicles are pricier and have spottier performance records in colder climates.

Higham also cited concerns about the energy efficiency of electricity, which is often generated through coal-burning plants.

She said her concerns spring from a sense the government should not be involving itself in people’s private decision-making rather than any protectiveness of Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

The city’s environmental initiatives supervisor, Nancy Hackett, responded that the aim of the strategy is not to tell people what to do, but to address what is already happening in the community.

Hackett explained residents are already buying hybrid or electric vehicles that need battery charging stations.

And car manufacturers are already planning to devote entire factories to the creation of electric vehicles. With various governments looking at offering incentive packages for the purchase of these vehicles, “are we going to stay out of it when this is becoming a trend in our community?” she questioned.

Hackett added that more electric vehicles on the road will also affect Red Deer’s electrical grid, so the city has a stake in it.

Another query raised by council is how often the environmental plan has to be updated.

Higham noted spending $150,000 and 21 months of staff time to do a refresher every five years seems excessive.

She added the new plan, which received general praise from council, is thorough and easy to understand with direct, achievable goals. The matter of how often to update it can be discussed further.

The updated environmental master plan was unanimously approved as a planning document. It will be posted to the city’s website.

Just Posted

Thousands of Albertans flock to Westerner Days on last day

Central Albertans took advantage of Sunday’s sunshine and flocked to Westerner Days… Continue reading

Former Humboldt Broncos player who survived bus crash hopes for spot on team

RED DEER, Alta. — A former Humboldt Broncos player whose back was… Continue reading

Man and dog dead after early morning house fire in Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Officials say a man and a dog are dead… Continue reading

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

OTTAWA — The federal government is fighting a proposed class-action lawsuit against… Continue reading

May says Greens will work with any party that has a serious plan for the climate

OTTAWA — With three months until Canadians vote in the next federal… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

TORONTO — The names of the two people killed in a shooting… Continue reading

Relief in sight for southeastern Canada following weekend heat wave

MONTREAL — Relief is in sight for sweltering Canadians after a weekend… Continue reading

Trudeau’s former right-hand adviser playing role in Liberal election campaign

OTTAWA — With three months to go now until the election, the… Continue reading

Hotels face battle over whether to help US house migrants

DETROIT — There’s a new target in the clash over immigration: hotels.… Continue reading

Thousands visit Illinois governor mansion after renovations

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Thousands of people have visited the Illinois governor’s mansion… Continue reading

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

VANCOUVER — High school students in Canada may not be getting the… Continue reading

‘Us and them’: influence of Quebec anglos on decline with new Coalition government

MONTREAL — Last March, Quebec Premier Francois Legault made a mocking remark… Continue reading

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

VANCOUVER — Japanese Canadians across the country are meeting to discuss how… Continue reading

Most Read