It’s a move that could have a ripple effect across Vancouver and cost a bundle too.
Vancouver council has passed the “Renewable City Strategy” and that plan includes committing Vancouver to eliminating natural gas within city limits by 2050.
The goal is to reach zero per cent use of natural gas in both residential homes and commercial and industrial.
But Vancouver’s City Manager is responding to concerns City Hall plans to ban natural gas by 2050.
Sadhu Johnson says it’s not a ban, but rather a transition to renewable natural gas in the same pipes.
“We are not going to ban natural gas, we want more of it to come from green sources which is something that Fortis is doing which is producing more and more green gas, renewably powered gas, and that is what we hope to put in our trucks.”
NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova says the zero-building emissions plan shows the city wants to reduce emissions in new development by 90 per cent.
“I just happened to remind Vision Vancouver in that meeting I’m sorry but what about affordable housing, I thought that was the biggest issue in our city, we are pushing people out. Vision Vancouver is going to go over to developers and require them to build at higher costs with no natural gas. I think the biggest issue here is they haven’t actually gone out and talked to the public.”
Fortis BC says there are 108,000 natural gas customers in Vancouver.
Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the move will cost residents thousands of dollars and will also mean higher taxes to cover rising costs for hospitals, schools and buses.
“It’s one of these well-meaning things that no one actually thought about, hey, wait a minute there are going to be massive costs not just to you as a homeowner but you as a taxpayer.”
Right now 56 per cent of all energy used by homes in Vancouver comes from natural gas.
“It creates nothing but havoc.”
President of the BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association of BC Ian Tostenson says the plan makes no sense.
“To think that a government that relies on all these people paying their hard-earned money in property taxes wouldn’t have the respect to consult and say hey guys what do you think really makes me mad.”
He says the news has hit hard.
“It creates nothing but havoc because you have hundreds of business people running around thinking ya know who’s doing this kind of stuff, right? Whose city is this?”
Tostenson says professional chefs only cook with natural gas for high-heat and searing and there is no alternative.
Fortis B.C. weighs in
Fortis B.C. is shocked to learn the city’s moving to ban natural gas.
Jason Wolfe is the company’s director of energy solutions.
“Just for customers if they had to use electricity instead of gas, electricity is about three times the price of gas so for your average home you’re taking about $1,4oo but that doesn’t even include the cost of upgrades, changing out furnaces.”
Wolfe says council consulted Fortis only preliminary about six months prior to making the decision.
“The content of this came as a surprise, how far the city was going and how quickly that consumers would lose the option to chose natural gas.”
He says Fortis was not presented with all the details at that time.