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OPED: City of Vancouver Out of Touch With Reality

OPED: City of Vancouver Out of Touch With Reality

November 3, 2020

On Tuesday, Vancouver City Council Members will consider a report prepared by City staff on a proposed climate action plan with a price tag of $500 million. The report suggests that mobility pricing – in other words, the establishment of a toll on vehicles making their way to the downtown core, would be the primary source of funding.

City staff suggest mobility pricing is a “game changer” and could rake in tens of millions of dollars each year. However, what it more accurately reflects is a City staff that is clearly out of touch with the transportation realities of today and the significant financial challenges that many Lower Mainland families are facing.

While City staff will suggest Vancouver has a high proportion of people who walk, roll and cycle – what they fail to recognize is that many people who work in the downtown core each day, commute from the suburbs – from areas where transit simply isn’t available or isn’t an option.

In an ideal world, walking and cycling would be modes of transportation that we could all rely on, but that’s not reality. Many people require vehicles to support their livelihood and put food on the table for their families, just as families also require vehicles to move their children to daycare, school or any number of activities.

In an ideal world, transit would serve all areas of the region and provide an opportunity for people to leave their cars at home, but that’s not the reality either, at least not at this point.

We live in the most beautiful region in the world, but it’s also one of the most expensive and where affordability is a significant issue for many working people. And at a time when working families and businesses have been so dramatically impacted by COVID-19, adding another tax to the layer upon layer they already face would be a tough proposition for those who are already struggling to make ends meet.

We all recognize the need to address climate change. It’s a serious issue and requires serious debate – but discussion and decision-making needs to be centred in reality.

New Car Dealers fully appreciate and support efforts to reduce carbon emissions. In fact, British Columbia’s leadership role in transitioning consumers to electric vehicle (EV) sales is the result of a positive partnership with the province. It’s a partnership that has led to increasing adoption of EVs among consumers, while helping to create expanded access to key infrastructure, such as fast charging stations.

I reference the province’s leadership role because it is largely based on thoughtful decision-making and the realities facing British Columbians, and that is what we hope to see from City Council  – reasoned, logical and thoughtful discussion and an ultimate decision that is based in reality.

Blair Qualey
President and CEO
New Car Dealers Association of BC

The OPED appeared in The Province on Nov 3 here.

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