The Comox Valley Regional District’s Daniel Arbour sees a future clear of emissions.
Now, the Area A director is hoping to give it a bit of a nudge, as he wants the CVRD to do more to plan for a future free of fossil fuels.
His move comes at a time when the province has been investing in charging stations for electric vehicles.
Arbour says his move is not aimed at making petroleum illegal immediately. Drivers will still be able to fuel up, but what he wants to see is a zoning change that references hydrogen fuels, electrical energy and other sources, with petroleum-derived fuels removed from the wording.
“I’m trying something that could be a first in North America,” he told the Record. “I’m going to put forward a resolution in light of the climate crisis.”
The resolution would ultimately remove the right to sell petroleum fuels at gas stations. For now, he wants to start the debate.
“Gas stations wouldn’t have to stop overnight,” he said.
The stations would become legally non-compliant, meaning they could operate for now. However, they could not expand capacity or resume sales if they have suspended activities at a site. He points out the provincial and federal government do not specifically state how local governments should support emissions targets, and he wants to limit further growth of petroleum fuel stations. He admits the idea might have seemed far-fetched a few years ago, but adds the automotive industry has been adapting to the challenge.
Arbour is raising the matter with the CVRD’s Electoral Area Services Committee first to gauge support for the idea. He aims to have vehicles 100 per cent emission-free in B.C. and Canada well over a decade ahead of schedule.
“If we’re going to meet those goals, we need to start to be more proactive,” he said.
He expects there will be opportunities for public input and discussion in the coming months, as the idea comes forward at the board level.
“I think we’ll have healthy public debate,” he said. “It’s an ambitious one.”