Response to: Vancouverites reject city plan to ban natural gas

In your May 9th story, you referenced a poll done by the BC Restaurant Association that mischaracterizes the City’s position and policies on natural gas. The City of Vancouver has a 30 year plan to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. The plan focuses on improving energy efficiency and increasing the supply of renewable energy so Vancouver residents and businesses have more affordable access to other forms of energy beyond natural gas. These long term targets are also in line with B.C. and Canada which aim to reduce our carbon pollution by 80% by 2050. The only way we can meet this goal is by reducing our consumption of fossil fuels including natural gas.

The City’s new Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings which came into effect on May 1, is an initial step that sets energy efficiency and carbon pollution targets for most new buildings. Those targets can be achieved cost-effectively, and developers can choose how to meet them. Costs will shift because of the policy, but they won’t increase according to the analysis developed through the consultation process. For example, better insulation and windows do cost more, but they enable smaller and simpler heating systems that are less expensive to install and maintain. The bottom line is that new buildings won’t cost any more to construct and operate.

The use of natural gas will be reduced by the policy, and that’s a good thing because it accounts for 58% of Vancouver’s carbon pollution. The policy ensures that gas is used more efficiently in new buildings, but developers can continue to choose to use it. For example, gas stoves would account for 12% of the carbon budget allowed under the policy.

Restaurants are a special case because of how much gas most of them rely on for cooking. If a new building applying for rezoning is going to be a restaurant, it will have to use energy more efficiently, but there are no carbon targets to ensure they can choose to use gas for cooking.

While the new policy just came into effect, residents and businesses understandably have questions about where the City is going in the longer term. We will continue consulting with residents and businesses as we consider next steps, and if solutions aren’t available and cost-effective, we will have to adjust course.

If you have ideas, questions or concerns about those next steps, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

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