Urban development has come at the cost of our natural environment including contaminated air, water and soils and loss of biodiversity. Despite bans on items like plastic bags and charges on single-use cups, our economy is still over-reliant on single-use items and an unsustainable model of endless economic growth and products that pollute our air, waters and environment. Our wasteful ways are contributing to the global loss of native forests and natural ecosystems and significantly accelerating climate change that threatens life as we know it.
Biodiversity, restored urban ecosystems, clean water and clean air are necessary for healthy people and a healthy planet. Science tells us that access to green space and nature has significant benefits for physical, mental and emotional health and that a robust urban tree canopy is essential for clean air, cool streets and a safer climate.
The future health of our city, our economy and our planet depends on restoring nature, protecting biodiversity, and transitioning to a more sustainable, less wasteful, circular economy. Greens believe Vancouver must pursue the goal of zero waste and restore the natural urban ecosystems needed for a climate-smart, clean, and healthy city.
Green Councillors will work tirelessly for a healthier, greener, wilder city. We will continue to lead efforts to ensure there is sufficient and equitable tree canopy across all neighbourhoods to keep people safe, cool, and connected to nature. We will protect biodiversity, restore urban ecosystems and lead the transition to a zero-waste, circular economy.
- Increase our city’s tree canopy to a minimum of 30% tree cover in every neighbourhood, aim and ensure adequate investment maintenance to keep trees alive
- Install public recycling bins city-wide and divert pet waste from landfill by introducing collection for methane harvest and composting.
- Plant smarter for climate change and divert rainwater from sewage systems. Invest in native weather resistant plantings, blue-green infrastructure and bioswales.
- Increase local share, repair and re-use of materials with the right to repair and more convenient Zero-Waste centres.
- Aim for 100 percent swimmable beaches by ramping up enforcement to stop the release of untreated sewage into the Salish Sea.
INCREASE TREE CANOPY CITY-WIDE
INCREASE TREE CANOPY CITY-WIDE
Our urban tree canopy is essential for clean air, cool streets and healthy communities. Greens believe in the 3-30-300 rule for a healthier, greener city: every resident should be able to see a minimum of 3 trees from every home, enjoy 30 percent tree canopy cover in every neighbourhood and be within 300 metres of the nearest public park or green space. Green Councillors will:
- Increase our city’s tree canopy to a minimum of 30% tree cover in every neighbourhood, as called for by the Parks Board, and will aim to match Metro Vancouver’s goal of 40% city-wide tree cover with tree species that excel at sequestering GHGs and can cope with changing climate.
- Invest in tree maintenance to keep trees alive, not just in planting trees, unlike the previous Council’s inadequate plan that only incorporated the planting of new trees.
- Increase requirements to retain and increase the tree canopy in rezonings and development.
- Preserve climate-stressed street trees by expanding Vancouver’s Green Streets volunteer program
- Establish a Vancouver Tree Bank to pay for tree planting by working with Tree Canada or other charities for free tree plantings, as well as potentially fund with penalties for removing trees in the city.
REWILD OUR CITY
It’s time we learned from the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, who have stewarded the lands that Vancouver sits on for thousands of years, how to respect and take care of the natural environment. In 2020 Councillor Wiebe introduced a motion: Rewilding Vancouver: an Ecosystem Restoration Action Plan, however it has not yet been implemented. Green Councillors will:
- Fast-track Clr Wiebe’s Rewilding Vancouver: an Ecosystem Restoration Action Plan to revive Vancouver’s watersheds, protect biodiversity, and restore our urban environment.
- Ensure development is contributing funds for new public parks and green spaces and pursue matching funding from senior governments, such as the National Urban Parks Program. Ensure new parks support biodiversity and access to nature.
- Reallocate a minimum of 11 percent of neighbourhood streets and encourage residents to engage in the next phase of the Vancouver Plan, to have a say in how and where we can create more green spaces and mini-parks that support biodiversity, access to nature, and ecosystem restoration.
- Expand city support for the Green Streets, Green Blocks, and neighbourhood green grants programs, that connect people with their natural environment.
- Plant smarter for climate change. Invest in rewilding and native plantings, enhance storm sewer infrastructure with blue-green networks and bioswales, and consider drought and storm resistant plantings.
HEALTHY AIR AND WATER
Although on average Vancouver’s air quality is fairly good, unhealthy short-term pollution spikes happen too often and will only accelerate with the Climate Crisis. We all suffer, but some, such as children, seniors and those with heart conditions or respiratory illnesses, can be dangerously affected when fires thicken our air with smoke, or traffic congestion coincides with muggy summer days. Ocean pollution affects people, our city, and our planet. When waters are contaminated with bilge water and sewage our beaches close, aquatic life is devastated, and our ecosystems perish. Clean air and water are essential to all life, a vibrant city and a .healthy planet. Green Councillors will:
- Expedite the stalled transition from diesel generators to electric power for the film industry, food-trucks, and community festivals and quickly install the electric plug-ins and tie-ins needed to provide the power which can also double as public EV charging stations .
- Quickly proceed with the city-wide ban on gas and diesel-powered landscaping equipment and transition to zero-emission equipment.
- Capture and divert rain water from sewage systems. Ramp up the Raincity strategy to reduce sewage overflow, including with more bioswales that could get incorporated into the Broadway and Vancouver plans.
- Aim for 100 percent swimmable beaches by ramping up enforcement to stop the release of untreated sewage into the Salish Sea, including the dumping of bilge water from private recreational boats that contributed to e-coli contamination and the closing of Vancouver beaches. This means working with other municipalities and senior governments on a regional strategy of enforcement.
BECOME A ZERO-WASTE CITY
The city’s measures to reduce disposable cups, plastic bags and straws has reduced litter, but there’s still a lot of waste that degrades our environment. Green Councillors will work to:
- Install and standardize public recycling bins city-wide.
- Initiate programs to teach people how to properly recycle.
- Support small unit composters for organic waste on-site in public, multi-residential and commercial buildings to reduce transportation emissions and costs for waste collection.
- Divert pet waste from landfill by introducing collection for methane harvest and composting.
- Increase local share, repair and re-use of materials with the right to repair, more convenient Zero-Waste drop-off centres, and a Green Industrial Innovation District (GrIID) in the False Creek Flats.
Reduce, reuse, and repurpose construction waste by increasing salvage requirements in the deconstruction bylaw, and expanding facilities to make it easier to divert demolition waste.
- Work with the Provincial Government to expand Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)/Stewardship Programs and increase best practices of recycling, and reduce waste where it is produced through design innovation.
- Regional component: Save money & free-up land by streamlining & integrating waste management with Metro (transfer station)
WORK DONE BY GREENS
In 2018, Vancouver elected three Greens to Council who worked collaboratively across party lines and with city staff to move forward solutions. Greens have worked hard this term to protect our environment and restore our ecosystems. Unfortunately, too much of our important work has been slow to come back to Council or has not been implemented at all. We need more Greens elected to ensure our solutions are implemented in a timely fashion and in a way that best serves the people of Vancouver.
- Councillor Pete Fry sits on the National Zero Waste Council
- 11% street conversion from car to community use through amendment in Vancouver Plan
- Restored park funding from development through Development Cost Levy (DCL) changes
- Shore to Core: Vancouver’s Watershed Revival Plan
- Shore to Shore Greenways Plan
- Formalize the False Creek to the Fraser River Blueways
- Rewilding Vancouver: Ecosystem Restoration Action Plan 2030
- Improving the Circularity of Vancouver’s Economy
- Vancouver Blueways Cleanup
- Reconnecting to the Sto:lo (Fraser River)
- Protecting BC Coasts From Acidic Washwater Dumping