Letter: Richmond city council twiddles thumbs, while oceans rise

Dear Editor,

A few days after this week’s council meeting (April 23), I was able to finally watch the council meeting via video on the city’s website. I was excited to watch what council was going to do about the climate emergency that they declared several weeks ago; however, what I watched was nothing short of an embarrassment.

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 West Coast Environmental Law came to speak about the possibility of joining a number of municipalities in B.C. in writing letters to the province in support of legislation that would make way for municipalities to recoup money spent on climate-related expenses (i.e. raising dykes).

There was a volunteer, a staff person and a pro-bono lawyer. They were treated with such disdain and contempt by some members of council, it was embarrassing.

One council member went so far as to say something to the effect that they were a lobby group that was trying to hurt Canadian companies (ahem, not true).

Another council member went on to accuse the pro-bono environmental lawyer of “driving to the meeting in his car” and adding to the “climate crisis,” which, again, was not true: not only did the lawyer take public transit to the meeting, but he, in fact, did not own a car!

So embarrassing to witness this.

Harold Steves used the correct language in outlining what we are in for if we don’t address climate change by taking decisive action immediately. Watch it...at 1:01.

A few other councillors also supported writing the letter, but what happened next floored me — although it shouldn’t anymore.

What did the majority of council do? The classic: Refer it back to staff!

 We don’t have time anymore to refer things back to staff. We need councillors who are going to take action to ensure that Richmond actually continues to exist in the next 30-50 years. We live on a floodplain. Most of our councillors clearly have their heads planted firmly in our silty sand if they don’t realize what a pile of hurt we are in for with their indecision. I can’t even imagine what our taxes will be like in 10 years when Richmond will have to build even higher dykes. Why not try whatever we can to recoup those costs?

 Please write to our mayor and council (mayorandcouncillors@richmond.ca.) and  tell them they can’t twiddle their thumbs while our oceans rise.

Michelle Li


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