Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Monday, November 23, 2009

City is being outmanoeuvred by Metro

The City of Vancouver has been seriously outmanoeuvred by Metro Vancouver in the Zero Waste competition.

The question is: can Vancouver politicians pick up their game in time to avoid an embarrassing pratt- fall during the Vancouver Olympics?

Metro Vancouver scored the first point by framing “garbage dumps” as outmoded, dangerous, and barbaric. This subtly reinforced long-held public attitudes and boxed the City of Vancouver in a corner. The City is the owner of the region's largest "dump."

Then Metro framed “waste to energy” as clean, modern, safe and efficient. The region has spared no cost in reinforcing this message through politician junkets to Europe, invited "experts,"and a steady stream of biased commentary through the local media.

Ane what was the City of Vancouver's reponse to all of this? Deafening silence.

Vancouver's staff commissioned two consultant reports in January 2008 as soon as they got wind of Metro's plan. The Deloitte Touche and CH2MHill reports gave the City all the tools they needed to mount an effective campaign against Metro's incinerator plan.

But Vancouver's politicians missed the play.

While Metro is actually rolling out pilot programs to compost food waste (a clever foil for their incinerator preparations) the City of Vancouver will apparently have nothing in place for expanded organics collection until as far away as May, 2010.

Meanwhile, what will the world see when they visit in February?

The Vancouver landfill -- although it meets all of our environmental requirements here in British Columbia -- would be illegal in Europe.
Under a directive by the European Union, all of the nations of Europe have laws banning the disposal of organics in landfills. They took this strong action years ago to prevent the formation of the potent GHG methane in landfills.

When European athletes and fans arrive here in February and learn that the host city is dumping raw, unprocessed organic wastes in its city landfill, they will see us as worse than syrup-suckers. They will see us as climate outlaws.

How embarrassing will that be to our Greenest City mayor?

Pic: It will take more than photo-ops, like this one posted by City Farmer, to win Vancouver the Greenest City medal.

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