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Envision the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan

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What Lindsay Cole most wants people to know about the plan: please read it (I suggest heading to straight to Appendix 4, Action Plan Summaries) and comment on it (from this link you can click on one of the ten goals and sign in to comment from that page).  The City needs to know if it has captured public input to date and if the proposed actions are on the right track. There’s a website for comments, there will be community based workshops, do-it-yourself conversation kits if you want to convene a meeting of your own, social media discussions and list serves. The City welcomes a quick thumbs up or down as well as people nerding out on a specific action plan. The actions are suggestions subject to residents’ support or rejection.

The biggest reason for input is that residents and businesses are essential to meeting the targets. The City can model, inform, regulate and provide incentives, but reaching the targets will be a shared action. The Plan will succeed if residents support the actions and are willing to help carry them forward as individuals and in their businesses.  

The Most Ambitious Aspect of the Plan: All of It

Meeting any one target won’t make Vancouver the world’s greenest city in 2020. Other cities have similar targets and are on their way to meeting them. It’s the cross connections of ALL the targets that makes Vancouver’s plan uniquely ambitious. Tackling all of it at once requires creativity and results in efficient actions that progress toward more than one target at a time.


The Draft Action Plan is based on the Greenest City Action Team’s report entitled Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future. Council instructed staff to create an implementation plan for the report’s recommended actions. The City sought resident input by way of web forums and meetings. Novel engagement tools included a picturesque potluck in the community garden at Davie and Burrard and an ideas slam in which the top four ideas from the on line forum were pitched to a panel amidst an interplay of art and music.

Public input went to external advisory committees, which brought together experts in related fields for the purpose of shaping the action plans. City staff looked to the committees to determine if targets were achievable and if the actions were both credible and suited to the targets. The committees created the skeletons of the action plans. The collaboration and dialogue continued for most of a year. The result is the draft action plan passed by Council on January 20, 2011.  

Revised Targets at a Glance

The City revised some of its targets from Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future.

Goal 1: Green Economy

Double the number of green jobs in the City by 2020 over 2010 levels.

The original goal was 20,000 jobs while the new one is 12,000 (the number of green jobs in the city today). The baseline wasn’t available at the time of the Bright Green Future report and 12,000 is considered more a realistic yet still ambitious goal, constituting 25% of all new jobs.

Increase the number of green workplaces.

This is a proposed additional target. The proposed action of Green Enterprise Zones will help enable it.

Goal 2: Climate leadership

Reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions to 33% below 2007 levels, by 2020.

The revision adds the phrase “community wide” to clarify that the City isn’t talking about just government, it’s talking about Vancouver as a whole.

Goal 3: Green Buildings

Require all buildings constructed from 2020 onward to be carbon neutral in operations.

The revision specifies “in operations” to exclude construction.

When I asked Lindsay about the construction industry’s reaction to this goal, she stated that the City looked for a broad representation of the construction industry for that external advisory committee in particular. While there was vigorous debate about what a carbon neutral building is (there are few models), no one spoke out against the idea.

Goal 4: Green Transportation

Make the majority of trips (over 50%) on foot, bicycle, and public transit.

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