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Ten goals to guide Vancouver’s green future

Vancouver prides itself as being green but the road to true sustainability stretches far into the distance, Mayor Gregor Robertson said today.

“To become truly resilient, we have a lot more work to do,” he told a conference on ecological urban strategies this morning.

The mayor used his speech to unveil ten goals that he said will make Vancouver a world leader in sustainable planning by 2020. They’re part of an “ambitious” strategy that appears before council this afternoon.

“[It] is the road map for the next stage of a journey that will challenge all of us -- citizens, businesses, and governments -- to demonstrate our commitment to making the planet a better place,” reads Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future.

The benchmarks for 2020 include:

-Creation of 20,000 green jobs

-One-third reduction of greenhouse gases below 2007 levels

-Make all new construction projects carbon neutral; give 20 per cent efficiency boost to current buildings

-Majority of city trips by foot, bicycle, public transit

-Forty per cent reduction in per-capita waste to incinerators or landfills

-Plant 150,000 trees

-One-third reduction in per-capita water usage

-One-third reduction in carbon footprint of Vancouver’s food supply

“These are undeniably bold for any city,” Robertson said. “They’re certainly achievable.” Many of the initiatives are underway in Northern European cities, the Mayor noted.

It means Vancouver is “playing catch-up”. But Robertson wants the west-coast metropolis to be a world leader in green urban strategies within one generation.

Non-Partisan Association councillor Suzanne Anton largely applauded the strategy. Though many of the goals planned by the mayor's Greenest City Action Team were drafted in a consultation vacuum, she said.

“It was a secret process,” she said. “I couldn’t get to the meetings. I was specifically not welcome.”

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

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