Vancouver City Council has voted to approve the climate levy proposed in the 2022 operating budget, which will essentially function as a tax.
When the tax was proposed, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart suggested it would be a “progressive” way to support the City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP). Set to go into effect in 2022, the goal of the tax is to raise $100 million over 10 years to fund the city’s climate change initiatives.
The decision means that a $9 million fund will be dedicated to Climate Emergency Action-related items in 2022. It will also protect $9 million in property tax funding for Climate Emergency Action-related items in future operating and capital budgets in 2023 and beyond. Some of the proposed initiatives include more electric vehicle chargers, transit infrastructure improvements, walking an cycling improvements, and building retrofits.
It came down to just one vote as the tax was approved 6-5, and it has already garnered some outcry from at those who voted in opposition.
It won’t make #Vancouver more affordable. It further downloads 💰onto people struggling to survive in our city.
You can thank the Mayor, Greens, COPE and OneCity for this new tax.
Money is green but it doesn’t grow on trees 🌳 #VanPoli pic.twitter.com/EKWGKK9VU3
— Melissa De Genova (@MelissaDeGenova) December 8, 2021
Councillor Rebecca Bligh made her opposition known saying that the federal government has stated they would foot the bill for certain initiatives, so it wouldn’t fall to municipalities.
“I actually believe we could have done a lot more with this as a council, had it not been brought forward entirely in a surprise format,” she said.
“There’s absolutely no way municipalities should be expected to fund this work,” she added, recounting the words of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh at a meeting during the height of the floods in BC. She also suggested that there was no consultation with the people of Vancouver who continue to suffer from the affordability crisis.
“We’re likely to be called out on Twitter for not supporting this and being climate deniers. That’s not true to the character of how we’ve worked.”
Councillor Adriane Carr responded by suggesting consultation with members of the community on climate initiatives and their wants and needs was what led to the move.