Reimer predicts Mayor's committee will shun diesel buses

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

2 comments


Would even energy efficient hybrid diesel buses be banned under Reimer's plan?

For those who were wondering if Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Greenest City Action Team was taking a long time on the “action” part, we can now confirm it is. That’s because we obtained a copy of an email Vision Councillor Andrea Reimer sent to an undisclosed recipient whereby she bemoans the fact the “action” committee is taking a long time to get moving. As we near the one year anniversary of Robertson’s victory, there have been few tangible results from GCAT, other than to plant a costly symbolic community garden on the front lawn of City Hall.

Although GCAT hasn’t finalized their report to council, last May Reimer was pretty confident that one recommendation to ban diesel buses on all trolley routes in Vancouver would make it onto the shortlist. Here is what Reimer said in her email:

Was at Greenest City Action Team meeting today where banning diesel buses on all trolley routes was a topic of discussion and seems quite likely to make it into the final report. Having the weight of the full Greenest City Action Team membership behind the recommendation will help alot moving forward with a potential Translink negotiation.

The issue of banning diesel buses on Metro Vancouver streets is not new. In the past, there were many public battles at the previous TransLink Board (then made up of elected officials, not appointed experts) regarding banning diesel buses from the fleet and moving to vehicles using more enviro-friendly alternative energy. In the end, concerns over unproven technology and significantly increased costs resulted in TransLink sticking with the diesel buses option – for now.

Here is a complete copy of Reimer’s email:

From: Andrea Reimer
To: (deleted by FOI clerk); Robertson, Gregor
Cc: Meggs, Geoff
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009, 11:40 pm

Subject: RE: Follow Up to Livable Transit Email

[deleted by FOI clerk]

Was at Greenest City Action Team meeting today where banning diesel buses on all trolley routes was a topic of discussion and seems quite likely to make it into the final report. Having the weight of the full Greenest City Action Team membership behind the recommendation will help alot moving forward with a potential Translink negotiation.

I appreciate this seems interminably slow. At the same time, well developed policies tend to be the ones that endure the longest. It’s also very difficult to suggest we are setting up authentic processes such as the action team is proposed as if we circumvent them by passing policy in the areas we are asking them to develop policies in.

I would be happy to meet and discuss your policy proposal further if it’s helpful.

Andrea

I must admit that reading Reimer’s email put a smile on my face. That’s because I recall vividly how Vision used to relentlessly mock the previous administration for taking too long to get the EcoDensity proposal from concept into action. Now that they’re in government, they now believe taking the necessary time to ensure the public and stakeholders are consulted is a good thing.

As for the diesel buses debate, you can rest assured any move by Vancouver to ban diesel buses on trolley routes will likely be met with some resistance by a cash-strapped TransLink. They are deeply in debt and will hope that any proposals from Vancouver also come with the funding to pay for them.

2 Comments

Sounds like someone has their head in the right place. Slow but steady does win the policy race. Good for Cllr Reimer

I wonder how Clr. Reimer would have Translink deal with City approved street closures like Commercial drive if diesel buses can't be used.
THis Council and other have no idea of the consequences of their actions as they effect transit service.
To epand Trolley routes may be green but as soon as the possiblity of having overhead wire comes up the greenies go nuts.
Ever wonder why there is no overhead east of Kootenay loop

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