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Earth Day 2010 marks significant environmental progress in Vancouver, says Mayor

Since last year’s Earth Day, Vancouver has made significant gains in becoming a greener, more sustainable city, said Mayor Robertson, and that there is a lot more the City will be doing in the coming months.

“Only a few weeks after Earth Day 2009 the Greenest City Action Team issued its first report,” said Mayor Robertson. “The Team’s quick start recommendations set us on a path of immediate action and we made major gains in the past year towards becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020.”

Of the 44 recommendations made by the Mayor’s Greenest City Action Team, whose members include Dr David Suzuki and former Premier Mike Harcourt, over two-thirds are underway or completed. Some of the actions taken by the City in the past year include:

Implementing a curbside compost program
Improving cyclist and pedestrian safety with separated bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge and Dunsmuir Viaduct
Setting the greenest building code in North America by requiring all new buildings to be LEED Gold
Creating the Corporate Climate Leaders Program, to partner with local businesses to reduce their carbon emissions
Requiring 20% of parking stalls in new multi-unit residential buildings to have electric vehicle charging capacit

“When it comes to the environment and climate change there’s real urgency,” said the Mayor. “We’re not just talking about going green, we are fast-tracking concrete, substantial actions and best practices to make Vancouver more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.”

Mayor Robertson said that more green policies will be rolled out in the coming months, because although this past year has shown what the City can accomplish in a short time, much more needs to happen to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world.

“We need to keep building on the wins of this past year. The Burrard Bridge bike lane was a success, and our next step is to create separated bike lanes in the downtown core. We know that car-free days are popular, so we want to create pedestrian-only festivals on Granville Street this summer. We’ll also be working with the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the City to help them reduce their carbon footprint.

“Vancouver has a lot to be proud of when it comes to our environmental record, and we’re ready, willing and able to take it to the next level.”

Mayor Robertson will mark Earth Day by attending the launch of Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet, from 10:30am – 11:00am at Science World today. The Cool Globes launch event will also celebrate the winners of Science World’s BC Green Games contest, a province-wide eco action contest for BC students.

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