Mayor backs green cabs

Sullivan said he favours licences for taxis that use alternate fuels

Mayor Sam Sullivan added Tuesday to the cascade of green initiatives into which Canadian politicians have been throwing themselves recently.
He announced he will support new city taxi licences only for vehicles that use alternate energy sources, and that he has invited former U.S. vice-president Al Gore to the city to learn more about Sullivan’s EcoDensity initiative.

Sullivan, who made the announcements in a speech to kick off 2007, said the storms Vancouver has experienced may be due to global climate change.
“This is a reminder to us as a community that we must continue to do our part in protecting our local and global and environment.”
He said one of his five goals for the city is to make Vancouver a world leader in environmental practices.
Sullivan’s “state of the city” speech, a lengthy summary of his Non-Partisan Association council’s accomplishments in 2006 and his goals for 2007, also emphasized his efforts to combat homelessness, foster a “civil city,” support the arts, lobby for improved transit, and promote more dense housing.
Sullivan’s speech hinted at other interesting initiatives or requests to come in 2007, but didn’t provide details.
Among them:

  • He will ask the province to help pay for renovating the Burrard Bridge to provide a bicycle lane. The bridge renovation was originally estimated to cost $14 million, but that has soared to $20 million.
  • He will recommend “the idea of using density as a means of reclaiming much of the industrial land we have lost over the last 25 years.”
  • He will ask the federal government “to grant an exemption for a revolutionary new approach to drug addiction.”
  • He will ask council “to consider when we can begin construction of the first phase of the downtown street car network.”

But the address, which had the air of a throne-style speech, with the mayor wearing his chain of office and reading from a teleprompter, came under heavy criticism from opposition councillors.
“This is no more than an attempt to start another re-election campaign, using the city’s resources,” said Vision Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal.
She said people voted in favour of the 2010 Olympics with a lot of hope, but that the city has stalled since Sullivan was elected and is not tackling the problems it needs to address by then.
“Housing and homelessness is the number one issue. It’s a disaster,” she said. Instead of addressing that, Sullivan has chosen to drop affordable-housing initiatives and spend money on Olympic contingency funds and new phone systems.
Sullivan said he was reviving a tradition by giving a “state of the city” address.
Mayors Larry Campbell and Philip Owen never gave similar speeches.
Source: Frances Bula, Vancouver Sun