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Archive for ◊ Public Health and Safety ◊

Mayor Gregor Robertson says that with last week’s decision by the National Energy Board (NEB) to reject a request for oral public hearings and cross examination on Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion, Vancouver should hold its own meetings to give residents an opportunity to express their concerns.

“The National Energy Board continues to restrict and reduce public input on Kinder Morgan’s proposal for a seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic through Vancouver’s local waters, which is undermining public trust in the process,” said the Mayor. “The approval process for Kinder Morgan has even fewer opportunities for public input than Northern Gateway.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from the residents of Vancouver that they have major concerns about this proposal. If the NEB won’t allow residents to express those concerns, then the City should provide opportunities for the public to let their voices be heard on this important issue.”

At yesterday’s Vancouver City Council meeting, a City staff update identified new gaps in Kinder Morgan’s proposal, including a “worst case” oil spill scenario that assumes calm, warm water and long daylight hours. The 15,000 page proposal also fails to include plans or impact assessments for fires, spills or explosions impacting the City of Vancouver.


Mayor Gregor Robertson will be introducing a motion on notice at this week’s Council meeting for the City to ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Federal Government to guarantee open public hearings and cross-examination of witnesses at the National Energy Board’s upcoming review of the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.

This motion follows a letter sent last week from the City of Vancouver to the NEB, in support of Intervenor Robyn Allan’s motion to amend the Hearing Order to include oral cross-examination of all witnesses on their evidence by Intervenors, the NEB, and Trans Mountain, if they choose do so. The ability to cross-examine all witnesses was part of the Northern Gateway review process, but is not part of the Trans Mountain Pipeline review.

“Vancouver has substantial concerns to express about the enormous risks posed to our local economy and environment by a seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic in and around Vancouver’s harbour,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The National Energy Board’s review process must guarantee a thorough, inclusive, and open hearing of input from all stakeholders. It’s clear to me that the current process will preclude important evidence from being examined and prevent far too many voices from exercising their right to be heard.”


Program to improve taxi accessibility first of its kind in Canada

At Vancouver City Hall today, Mayor Gregor Robertson, the Vancouver Taxi Association and the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities officially launched ‘Ask-Listen-Act’, a new form of enhanced taxi driver training involving seniors and people with disabilities. The program is the first of its kind in Canada.

“The launch of ‘Ask-Listen-Act’ will help make our taxi fleet more accessible and convenient for local seniors and people with disabilities,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “From our new building code to enhanced investments in pedestrian safety, the City is committed to improving accessibility for everyone. I want to thank the VTA for their leadership in creating this program, and to the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities and all of the stakeholders who were involved in its development.”


I have been very clear that I am opposed to any expansion of gambling in the City of Vancouver. Today’s decision by the Development Permit Board ensures that the proponent will have to align operations with the concerns raised in the recent Provincial Health Officer’s Report on Gambling.

Before a relocated casino can begin construction, the proponents have to come back with a plan that addresses the health concerns raised by Dr. Perry Kendall. If they don’t, it cannot proceed.


City Council received an update from staff today on the risks facing Vancouver from a proposal to expand the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline, dramatically increasing oil tanker traffic in and around Vancouver’s harbour and local waters. Mayor Robertson has tabled a motion for the City of Vancouver to apply to intervene in National Energy Board hearings on the proposal that are expected to begin in early 2014.

“Today we received further evidence from staff that the threat of a major oil spill in or near Vancouver’s waters poses unacceptable risks to our local economy and environment,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The City of Vancouver’s intervention in the National Energy Board’s hearings will outline Vancouver’s significant concerns about a seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic, and help ensure that our harbour, our local economy, and Vancouver treasures like Stanley Park are safe from the untold risks of a catastrophic oil spill.”


Following direction from the Mayor and City Council in 2011, the City of Vancouver now has an updated and comprehensive earthquake preparedness plan.

Council received a staff report today detailing 12 primary actions and 44 supporting actions to improve Vancouver’s preparedness for a major seismic event and strengthen the City’s capacity for response and recovery.

“City Hall is working harder than ever before to prepare Vancouver for a major earthquake, with essential steps to reduce risks of damage, boost our emergency response services and improve the safety of everyone who lives and works here,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Vancouver’s effective response and recovery from an earthquake will depend hugely on residents and businesses taking their own initiative, and it’s crucial that every home and workplace in Vancouver is prepared in advance with an emergency plan and earthquake kit.”