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Uncertainty for Vancouver as 'transport pricing fees' to be discussed by council: business lobby

Last Updated Oct 30, 2020 at 12:11 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The main business organization in downtown Vancouver says it’s very concerned about a new staff report heading to city council this coming week connected to “transport pricing fees,” including the idea of a possible congestion charge for the downtown core.

Charles Gauthier, with the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, says even putting the proposal to hit people with extra fees to drive into downtown will create uncertainty, suggesting a regional approach would be better.

“For Vancouver to go alone and to test it here without any kind of understanding or whether or not there’d be support from the surrounding municipalities to do something similar. Seems like it’s going to put our dining retail community at risk.”

The new staff report also blindsided the DVBIA, since it was not consulted, according to Gauthier.

“Found out through the media we weren’t given the opportunity to be briefed on it. But more importantly, is that we weren’t brought to the table to better understand what was what it’s all about.”

Gauthier adds that he understands the city’s intentions in addressing climate change and says “we understand that it’s a serious issue,” but he does not feel the city should be making the decision alone.

“Congestion is affecting the entire region. And we need to address it on a regional coordinated approach. And the city going it alone could have some unintended consequences. It could damage what we built over the course of the last three decades here in the downtown area — being kind of a destination for shopping and entertainment and dining.”

“Especially having this conversation during COVID-19 just seems to be totally tone-deaf. And even though it’s not until potentially five years that it would come into play — the city has already telegraphed that it intends to go ahead with this, again, subject to council approving.”

Vancouver Council will debate the massive 371-page report Tuesday.