Friday, January 6, 2012

Province looking at weakening Metro Vancouver's Sustainability Plan and ALR

Over the holidays, I had a look at the recommendations out of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services and some of the recommendations should sound an alarm bell for sustainability in the South of Fraser.

It looks like the carbon tax is pretty much going to stay at its current level and will be capped at the rate as of July 2, 2012. While this might sounds good, this is really only the half-way point for where the tax needs to be at to be effective. What’s actually alarming is that the committee is recommending that cement producers be excluded from carbon tax. Cement production is a huge contributor to GHG emissions in Metro Vancouver. They also want to exclude agriculture from carbon tax.

Last year, I wrote about how government was the worst offender for taking land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve. Well it looks like they might be at it again and even worse might be entertaining weakening Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy:
A submission was received from the Urban Development Institute discussing the impact of the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy on urban development. The Institute expressed concern that the strategy will be a serious impediment to development since each parcel of land is assigned a regional land use designation – in addition to existing municipal zoning. This regional land use designation would need to be changed in order to proceed with development for any other use. The Committee heard how this adds another layer of land use planning, which will impose greater costs and uncertainty on developers. The Institute was also concerned that the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy could potentially limit growth of the Pacific Gateway by preventing additional industrial lands near the Delta Port from being developed.
The select committee recommended:

Work with UBCM to ensure a conflict resolution mechanism is in place to protect the province’s investments in the Pacific Gateway.

"Investment in Pacific Gateway" is code for the South Fraser Perimeter Road and Deltaport expansion and "preventing additional industrial lands near the Delta Port from being developed" means not allowing farm land to be turned into container storage. I know that Premier Christy Clark doesn’t want to be known as the “premier that gives up leadership on the environment”, but...

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