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Vancouver plans to ban the use of natural gas in new buildings

Last Updated Sep 23, 2016 at 10:41 am PDT

Vancouver City Hall (Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)
Summary

FortisBC claims the move will cost the average family of four an extra $1,500 a year

Critics say this will greatly affect vulnerable seniors and those on the Downtown Eastside

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The City of Vancouver is being slammed by critics after committing to eliminate the use of natural gas in new homes and buildings by 2050. FortisBC says the ban will cost an average family of four about $1,500 a year in extra energy costs.

NPA City Councillor Melissa de Genova says she has supported many green initiatives in the past, but this Vision Vancouver idea is not green. “They’re talking about how they’re going to expect by 2050 for every person to get a gas stove to either move it out or re-fit it. Every home with a gas furnace — they want to see those overhauled and at what expense?”

She has already heard from one woman who just bought a gas stove. “She’s concerned that she needs to return it now because Vision Vancouver is going to turn off the gas.”

The councillor says our most vulnerable seniors and people living on the Downtown Eastside will be greatly impacted. “Why aren’t we looking at being green with being affordable? And unfortunately, Vision Vancouver just can’t see that. To them, it’s, ‘Let’s be green at all costs.'”
She adds costs will come out of your pocket when you have to go out and buy new appliances. “The public is calling me, emailing me as there are several councillors concerned about what this means for them.”

FortisBC says it’s impractical, has the potential to increase costs and will stifle innovation over the long run.

The City of Vancouver is clarifying its position. “Earlier this year, Vancouver City Council adopted the Zero Emissions Building Plan – an action plan that lays out a phased approach to combat and reduce carbon pollution in Vancouver. The plan establishes specific targets and actions to achieve zero emissions in all new buildings by 2030 i.e. the plan does not focus on retro-fitting buildings. Restaurants can continue to cook with natural gas and residents are not being asked to replace their gas appliances,” it says in a statement.

“The Zero Emissions Building Plan is a product of Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy (RCS), committing Vancouver to derive 100 per cent of its energy from renewable sources before 2050. Vancouver is one of many cities worldwide that have adopted 100 per cent renewable policy strategies to combat climate change.”