Some Nanaimo city councillors call for an end to new natural gas hookups

Watch A number of Nanaimo city councillors are calling for an end to natural gas hookups for new homes to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions. Kendall Hanson has more.

Some Nanaimo city councillors want to pull the plug on natural gas hookups for new homes.

They say it would be a step towards reducing the municipality’s carbon footprint.

“Because it [new natural gas hookups] is offsetting any progress made elsewhere with respect to reducing the city’s GHG emissions. That has been presented to council numerous times through staff reports and consultant reports,” said Coun. Tyler Brown.

Yesterday, a United Nations staff report said world temperatures will soar past a key danger point if more is not done to reduce greenhouse gases.

The City of Vancouver started limiting natural gas hookups for housing under three-storeys starting January 1st but not all municipalities have the same power.

“When it comes to local items we do need some additional powers from the province to make the reductions we know we need to make,” said Brown.

But there are other views on council.

“Everybody wants to stop using fossil fuels but you can’t do it overnight and you certainly can’t do it in the face of the high electricity rates that we face,” said Leonard Krog, Nanaimo’s mayor.

Krog says a move like this should really be made by the provincial or federal governments.

“Nanaimo doing one thing or another may make people feel better locally but it’s not going to provide a comprehensive solution,” said Krog.

But Brown said everyone should be taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint as quickly as possible.

“Senior governments have really said we need municipalities to do their part,” said Brown. “I think everybody recognizes this is an issue that falls into three different jurisdictions, federal, provincial and local.”

FortisBC says consumers should be given options.

“Our position is that preventing access to the gas system also prevents Nanaimo residents from accessing low carbon and renewable options as well as critical energy efficiency initiatives,” said Nicole Brown, a corporate communications advisor with FortisBC.

Nanaimo’s city council is set to revisit the issues of new natural gas hookups in a series of meetings in May.

Last week, the federal government announced targets for the oil and gas sector if Canada is to meet its emission targets by 2030.

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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