Cities back Richmond's push for environmental bill of rights

A slim majority of municipalities have endorsed the City of Richmond’s proposal that the provincial government enact an environmental bill of rights.

The proposal was endorsed at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver Wednesday.

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The bill would recognize the right of every citizen to live in a healthy environment with clean air, water, food and a vibrant ecosystem. It would also provide for more transparency and democratic process in environmental decisions, as well as whistle blower protection.

Coun. Harold Steves introduced the bill as “an idea whose time has come.”

A report from the city indicates Ontario has a similar bill.

The proposal was developed at the same time the David Suzuki Foundation has been pressing for a national law to protect the right to a healthy environment, via the Blue Dot Tour.

Some municipalities called the proposal redundant to B.C.’s existing laws, while others, in more rural areas, said it could hinder resource development.

The three-day convention wraps up today. 

Also on the agenda, from the city, is a call to both the provincial and federal governments to restrict federal port authorities from purchasing protected agricultural land.

Richmond has also called on port authorities (ie. Port Metro Vancouver) to establish “meaningful consultation processes,” according to the UBCM resolution.

At the Sept. 14 city council meeting Mayor Malcolm Brodie noted he has been stonewalled in his efforts to meet with the port’s board.

The port told Brodie the board is a governance board and doesn’t meet with municipal council members.

“I’m sure if the grain authority of Saskatchewan wanted to meet with them, they would get a meeting,” quipped Brodie.

At the conference on Thursday the City of Richmond took home the Community Excellence Award for Partnerships for the Kiwanis Towers affordable housing project, which opened in July.

- With files from the
Vancouver Sun

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© Richmond News

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