Gas-powered sports cars, SUVs face higher street parking fees under Vancouver's anti-pollution proposal

·3 min read
The City of Vancouver is also proposing a new overnight permit zone for residential streets that are currently unregulated.  (Amy Bell/CBC News - image credit)
The City of Vancouver is also proposing a new overnight permit zone for residential streets that are currently unregulated. (Amy Bell/CBC News - image credit)

Vancouver residents who buy gas-powered vehicles after 2023 will face street parking fees of up to $1,000 a year if the city goes forward with its Climate Emergency Parking Program.

The City of Vancouver announced Monday it's now seeking public feedback on the plan until July 5.

Vancouver is looking at putting two parking initiatives in place by 2022 that could cost drivers more money depending on their vehicles. If approved, the changes are expected to generate around $60 million between 2022 and 2025 that would be used for climate emergency initiatives in the city.

The Climate Emergency Action Plan was approved in November 2020 with a goal of reducing carbon emissions 50 per cent by 2030. The city says motor vehicles account for 40 per cent of carbon emissions in Vancouver and these are steps they hope to implement to reach carbon emission reduction targets.

Two initiatives

Under the tiered system, vehicles manufactured in 2022 and earlier, or any specialized vehicle for wheelchairs, will not pay extra fees. New electric or hybrid vehicles will also be exempt.

"When we [first] surveyed people in the first round of engagement we heard really, really clearly that Vancouverites care about climate change. Ninety per cent of the people who answered our survey cared about climate change," said Paul Storer, the city's director of transportation .

The city says this pollution charge is aimed at people buying new cars and encourages the purchase of a non-polluting vehicle.

That means most new gas-powered sport sedans and small SUVs could expect a $500 annual pollution charge under the new system. A $1,000 annual charge would be charged to drivers of high-polluting new vehicles like luxury sports cars and full-size pickup trucks 2023 and newer.

"Goal of this is to encourage people when they're buying a brand new vehicle to buy zero emission or low emission," Storer said.

City of Vancouver
City of Vancouver

The second program being pitched by Vancouver is overnight residential parking permits. The city is looking at charging drivers approximately $45 per year for this. The change would apply to residential streets in the city that don't already require permits.

"With this proposed program, Vancouver would be joining a number of cities around the world that have implemented pollution charges for residential parking, including Sydney, Australia, and Montreal," Storer said in a news release.

What does this mean?

On top of the annual base fee of $45 per year for residents who park on the street overnight, the city is seeking input from Vancouver residents on charging overnight visitors $3 to park from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

"The overnight permit would allow us to apply the pollution charge across the city," Storer said.

City of Vancouver
City of Vancouver

The city says the revenue gained from these initiatives would be used to support Climate Emergency Action Plan initiatives which include improving infrastructures for walking, rolling, cycling, transit, electric vehicle charging and green buildings. Officials say it could also help manage local parking issues.

Potential impacts

Sandy James, a city planning consultant and director at Walk Metro Vancouver, said the proposal could impact renters and people living in secondary suites without dedicated parking.

"In terms of curbside management, I don't really know if that is a problem in the city," she said.

James said Vancouver's plan is redundant because the province has already announced a ban on gas-powered vehicles by 2040.

Public consultation will take place until July 5 and council is expected to make decision this fall.

Residents can take the survey here.

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