Downtown toll roads possible? Vancouver council votes to pursue controversial climate plan
CTV News Vancouver's Pete Cline captured the Vancouver skyline during a flight in 2018.
VANCOUVER -- City councillors have taken the next step in an ambitious but controversial move that could one day see drivers paying tolls to enter Vancouver's downtown core.
Council voted in favour Tuesday night of pursuing the Climate Emergency Action Plan, a 371-page report that recommends road pricing, among other things.
Those behind the report say putting tolls in place would help reduce congestion and emissions as the region's population grows.
The city will now conduct two years of community consultations on topics including when and how it could start charging tolls, but the vote was another step toward making it a reality.
The report from the city's general managers of planning and engineering services contains five "big moves" meant to address the "urgent threat proposed by climate change."
Mobility pricing is one of those moves, and the report recommends that it should be implemented within the next five years.
The area would be bordered by the Vancouver waterfront, Burrard Street, Clark Drive and 16th Avenue.
It is not yet known exactly how much more drivers could be charged.
Also recommended is an expansion of the city's pedestrian and cyclist pathways.
The report suggests improvements to public transit, and the promotion of flexible work options that would mean fewer people forced to head downtown every day.
It also suggests drivers be required to have permits to park on any residential streets in the city.
The intent behind this measure is it would encourage the use of public transit, cycling or walking.
While those in favour of the plan cite a need for action to meet the city's climate goals, critics said the idea would make life even more unaffordable in the city.
"This is a slap in the face to the small businesses and the hardworking people of Vancouver from their elected officials at city hall," the B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said in an emailed statement.
Kris Sims said people are already struggling to make ends meet, "and the last thing they need is over-paid bureaucrats dreaming up expensive new driving taxes."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Allison Hurst and Kendra Mangione