A director with the Comox Valley Regional District believes his idea might help people choose more environmentally-friendly methods of getting around.
Directors with Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) recently voted in favour of a resolution, that if realized, would see staff rewrite the district’s zoning rules to exclude future gas stations from being constructed in the region.
The proposal, brought forward by CVRD director Daniel Arbour, aims to phase out fossil fuels and replace gas stations in the region with zero-emission fuels such as hydrogen and electric.
“A zoning amendment … would phase out the permissibility of the sale of petroleum at gas stations,” Arbour told CHEK News.
The move wouldn’t stop current gas stations from selling gas. It just wouldn’t allow new ones to be built or current ones to be expanded. Arbour hopes the proposal will fuel a debate on the transition from fossil fuels.
“We have to start moving the dial on climate issues. We’ve missed climate targets in British Columbia and Canada for a very long time. We see the public is noticing and wants more climate action,” said Arbour, who represents Hornby Island.
People in the Comox Valley aren’t sure this is the best way to drive emissions down.
“It’s an idea. I don’t think it’s very well thought out and I don’t think it will work,” said Barbara Old, a Comox Valley driver.
“It’s a knee-jerk reaction to a situation that will resolve itself. When there’s no longer a need for gas stations they will disappear and charging stations will evolve. I don’t believe we need legislation I don’t believe we need any more rules,” said Paul Talbot, a Denman Island resident.
However, Bentley Allan, an associate director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, applauds the effort to transition from fossil fuels.
“We can’t just be relying on these negative restrictions. We have to provide positive incentives that will help drivers get into electric vehicles today. The quicker we do that the better off we’ll be in the long term,” said Allan.
The federal government has mandated all cars be zero-emission by 2035 while the B.C. government has set the same goal for 2040.
Comox Valley Regional District staff will now investigate Arbour’s proposed bylaw changes, which would permit electric charging and the sale of hydrogen fuels at current gas stations.