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City attacks province for dragging feet on building code

Councillors and planning staff at the City of North Vancouver are blasting the B.C. government for failing to include new energy efficiency standards in the new provincial building code.

Councillors and planning staff at the City of North Vancouver are blasting the B.C. government for failing to include new energy efficiency standards in the new provincial building code.

In her report to council, city planner Emilie Adin wrote that in 2009, provincial staff advised city staff that the B.C. Building Code would move to higher energy standards in 2010. Then both 2010 and 2011 came and went without any energy updates to the code.

Further conversations with the province produced more promises for tougher standards, wrote Adin, yet higher energy performance standards were not included in the recent draft of the building code, which has been released for public input.

The omissions in the building code are particularly galling for the City of North Vancouver, which has worked aggressively to reward builders who meet performance standards in excess of the building code one known as EnerGuide 80 for smaller residences and another called ASHRAE 90.1 for commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-unit residential buildings.

Buildings produce 48 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the city, but recently released figures show the citys efforts are starting to pay off.

Adin wrote that the provinces construction industry was prepared to take on the higher standards. Ontario has brought in similar requirements and they are also included in the non-mandatory National Energy Code for Buildings.

The province is dragging here terribly, said Coun. Rod Clark, and yet they are the ones who brought forth the whole discussion with respect to carbon footprints and gave us targets and indeed are going to fine us if we dont make those targets. Where is the equity here? Its not carrot and stick, its just two sticks.

Coun. Pam Bookham shared her colleagues indignation.

Here, when a simple policy change through the B.C. Building Code would lead to meaningful reductions, they fail to deliver. Theres a word for that its called hypocrisy, she said.

I am quite despondent, said Coun. Guy Heywood, about the fact that the high-water mark of our environmental consciousness might have been reached a couple of years ago. The province seems to be retracing its steps.

Given whats gone on the last couple of years, quipped Coun. Craig Keating, a vocal New Democrat, it makes me pine for the good old days of Gordon Campbell.

Council unanimously endorsed a letter to Minister Rich Coleman protesting the lack of new standards.

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