Richmond MLA-elect pushes for sustainability goals, wider sidewalks

Two motions put forward by former Coun. Kelly Greene at her last meeting were deferred with Coun. Linda McPhail saying she didn't see the urgency to bring them forward so quickly.

At her last public committee meeting, Richmond-Steveston MLA-elect Kelly Greene was hoping to have two new motions introduced and discussed – wider sidewalks on main roads and integrating U.N. sustainability goals – but these were quickly removed from Monday’s agenda when one councillor said there wasn’t enough time to prepare for them.

Coun. Linda McPhail said she didn’t understand why Greene’s motion on using the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals in Richmond’s annual reports should be brought forward so quickly.

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“I don’t see this as being urgent and our policy as agreed upon was not followed,” McPhail said about the U.N. sustainability goals motion, adding she didn’t have enough information at that moment to support it.

Council’s policy is that items can be added to the agenda if they’ve been referred to at a previous special council meeting or closed council meeting.

The sidewalk motion was also put off to the next meeting, with McPhail reiterating that she didn’t see the urgency of the matter that it needed to be on Monday’s agenda.

As for the U.N. sustainability goals, of which there are 17, Greene’s motion was to include them in the city’s annual report to enhance it and “provide additional organization of corporate activities.”

Greene pointed out in her rationale Richmond has already adopted the U.N. International Panel of Climate Change targets.

Before it was deferred, Coun. Michael Wolfe called the U.N. sustainability motion "a timely initiative," saying the “decade for action” on the U.N. sustainability goals has just started.

Furthermore, Wolfe said it aligns with other sustainability initiatives the city has, like the Blue Dot initiative, which states everyone has the right to a healthy environment.

“I think it would complement some of the work that staff has done and is already tasked to do,” he added.

In her second motion, Greene was calling for staff to evaluate sidewalk widths on larger roads, saying this would address accessibility, gender equity – with women providing most childcare – active transportation, the environment and safety.

In her rationale for the motion, Greene claims sidewalk widths are getting smaller. She illustrated this with several examples like the sidewalk on Steveston Highway approaching Constable Gate, showing how , before a development was built, it was 80 inches wide whereas after, it was 59 inches wide.

The two items will come back to the next general purposes meeting (Nov. 30).

The 17 United Nations sustainable development goals:

Goal 1: No poverty

Goal 2: Zero hunger

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Goal 4: Quality education

Goal 5: Gender equality

Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Goal 10: Reduced inequality

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Goal 13: Climate action

Goal 14: Life below water

Goal 15: Life on land

Goal 16: Peace and justice strong institutions

Goal 17: Partnerships to achieve the goal

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