Vancouver Motorists Face Pollution Charges

By Ben Hamill - June 23 2021

Vancouver Motorists Face Pollution Charges

The city of Vancouver is looking at a Climate Emergency Parking Program that could see around 150000 motorists paying extra to park their cars in residential areas, as well as annual pollution charges for owners of high-emission vehicles. Those who purchase gas-powered cars after 2023 could expect to pay as much as $1000 a year to offset their carbon footprint. The public has until July 5 to comment on the plan, which aims to use new revenue to fight climate change through various initiatives.

By 2022 the city hopes to have put in place two programs that encourage residents to buy environmentally friendly vehicles and cut down reliance on cars. Owners and buyers of gas-powered vehicles such as SUVs, sports cars and pickup trucks will face an annual pollution charge between $500 and $1000 – vehicles manufactured before 2022 will be exempt, along with those adapted for wheelchair access. Hybrid vehicles and those using electricity will also escape the fee.

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Planet-Saving Initiatives

The other initiative in the pipeline comes in the form of overnight residential parking permits. Several cities around the globe, such as Sydney and Montreal, already charge a yearly fee for residential parking. Paul Storer, Vancouver’s director of transportation, said that a charge of around $45 per year would be a step in the right direction for environmentally conscious Vancouverites. According to him, 90% of those who gave feedback in an initial survey were very clear about wanting to tackle climate change.

If the Climate Emergency Parking Program is approved, Vancouver can expect to raise around $60 million by 2025. When the Climate Emergency Action Plan came into being in November 2020, its aim was to halve carbon emissions by 2030, and the city hopes to achieve this through the proposed charges. Approximately 40% of emissions come from motor vehicles – precisely why authorities want to push residents towards zero-emission forms of transport, including walking and cycling.

A City-Wide Program

Those not from Vancouver won’t escape the program: an additional charge for cars parked in residential areas overnight could mean overnight visitors having to cough up $3 for parking their cars between 10pm and 7am.

City planning consultant and Walk Metro Vancouver director Sandy James has doubts about the initiatives and said that the ban on gas-powered vehicles meant to come into effect by 2040 made the current proposals null and void. City-dwellers without dedicated parking spaces could be especially affected. The public has until July 5 to give feedback about the initiatives.