Vancouver City Council rejects city-wide parking permit and vehicle charge proposal

VANCOUVER Mayor Kennedy Stewart issued the following statement following City Council’s decision to reject the staff’s proposal for a city-wide overnight street parking and yearly vehicle charge:

TODAY at Council, we heard from staff and dozens of residents on the proposed city-wide permit parking system that would have seen new fees for overnight street parking and up to $1,000 in special levies on all but the most efficient 2023 and newer vehicles.

I decided to vote against this proposal after hearing from speakers and giving careful consideration to the staff report.

The climate emergency disproportionately impacts middle- and low-income families. I saw this first hand in my years of fighting the TMX pipeline expansion through unceded Indigenous lands. I believe in strong and urgent climate action, but I also believe these actions must be just. I think most of us living in Vancouver share these values.

Unfortunately, the proposed permit parking system did not meet this test. It would have asked those renting basement suites or working in vehicle-dependent jobs to pay more while asking homeowners with private parking to pay nothing.

And these inequitable outcomes would become entrenched. For example, a few years from now, a landscaper living in a basement suite who buys a used 2023 pickup truck for work would pay over $1,000 a year while their landlord would pay nothing – even if the homeowner drives a Ferrari.

That’s not fair.

An effective climate action plan must be just. I’ve asked staff to find a better way forward, and I am confident they will.

But it’s not just about new fees here in the City of Vancouver. Our partnerships with the governments of British Columbia and Canada are also a key source of investments in local climate action. I’ve worked hard to secure millions of dollars to do just this since becoming mayor, including funding for natural infrastructure projects, neighbourhood energy, and millions more to expand SkyTrain to UBC so more people can switch away from gas-powered cars.

Strong and sustainable climate action requires leaders to bring people together and find fair solutions. Working families will be much more willing to become climate champions if they aren’t being asked to do all the heavy lifting. This is how our climate work must proceed because it is how we build a Vancouver that works for all of us.