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VANCOUVER, B.C. — A study by KMG Strategy evaluating the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Initiative is raising concerns about affordability implications for residents and businesses.

The study, which was commissioned by Resource Works and the BC Restaurant in conjunction with the Food Services Association, found that the City of Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy, Zero Emissions Building Plan, and Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings would result in a “de facto” ban on the use of natural gas in new buildings by 2030, and in all buildings by 2050.

According to the study, insufficient renewable natural gas, or biomethane, is expected to be available to replace conventional natural gas in that time frame. That in turn would have a negative impact on not only restaurants and civic institutions such as hospitals, but also on the manufacturing sector.

“While the rest of the world is rushing to embrace natural gas and its positive climate attributes, the City of Vancouver is sowing confusion and moving us backward on climate,” said Stewart Muir, Executive Director of Resource Works. “Planned constraints on energy sources, without new technology or sufficient alternatives, means not only that costs will go up, but that they will be disproportionately passed along to those who in some cases can least afford them.”

While B.C’s largest city is a major service hub for Northeast B.C.’s natural gas industry, Metro Vancouver is actually the largest manufacturing hub of fireplaces and grills in the world. Those businesses account for 25 percent of the North American market, according to the study.

Ian Tostenson, President and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association stated that, “The City’s natural gas phase-out will be very challenging for the 1,100 members of the BCRFA who operate in Vancouver. Energy costs for the average restaurant are 2% of operating revenue, or $14,000, while profits are only 4%. So if energy costs go up, that puts a number of family- owned businesses at risk.”

The full study can be found below.

 

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