Walking the talk - crafting a budget that focuses on climate change issues hasn't put members of council in electric cars.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2019


We were advised by the Office of the Mayor this afternoon that “The vehicle the Mayor uses is an electric plug-in.  Our apologies for any embarrassment we might have caused her Worship.

The climate has dominated the 2020 budget deliberations. Trying to get electric buses as soon as possible, pushing a private tree by law onto the books, setting aside funds to work on the Climate Action Plan, buying level two charging stations that would be set up at community centres.

Electric car fill up

If you get to the Locust Street parking garage early enough you can park your electric car and charge it at the same time. But get there early – they get taken up quickly.

Getting people out of their cars and onto buses by making it free for those under twelve, putting together a deal with the school boards that will have high school students riding a bus to school. During the summer there was a program that had seniors using transit free during the off peak hours.

Progress – Mayor Meed Ward would like to make transit free for everyone and if the buses they ride were all electric she would be ecstatic.

But there is a fly in this ointment; none one of the city councilors drives an electric vehicle.

BMW hydro EV charging device

Burlington Hydro leased an electric BMW and made it available to members of the 2014-18 city council and covered the cost of a charging station outside city hall to introduce the elected to electric vehicles. Nothing happened.

One reported that he drives his boys to school in his pickup truck and admitted that he found himself following the school bus in his pick-up truck explaining that the school bus didn’t come close enough to his home to make it convenient.

That is not exactly walking the talk.

The Mayor is provided a car as part of her benefit package – to the best of our knowledge it is not an electric car. (See correction at the top of this story) To her credit to the Mayor walks to city hall when she doesn’t have to travel – which isn’t very often.

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9 comments to Walking the talk – crafting a budget that focuses on climate change issues hasn’t put members of council in electric cars.

  • Bob

    Next time, the self-righteous talk up electric cars, research lithium pit mining by children and the like in the third world or move your cursor over to China and spent some quality time on their stranglehold on rare earth elements.

    • Elan

      No one should be self-righteous. The fact that current fossil fuel policies are going to make us MARS (where no present life exists) does not invalidate attempts to pull back from this. China is a problem. Trump America (and his Oil lobby group) is a problem. Putin Russia (that is desparate for Oil drilling technology from Trump) is a problem. The fact that fossil fuels will destroy my Daughter’s health and future IS a problem for me. In my opinion, your point advocting status quo is head in the sand stuff.

  • Phillip Wooster

    I truly suspect that all of these expensive climate change initiatives will end up in the same category as the pier to nowhere, bike lanes on New Street, artwork on Upper Middle……just more wasted money OUT OF THE TAXPAYERS POCKETS.

    • Elan

      AND….the second lowest tax burden and increase municipality in the GTA..with a proposed
      3.99% increase is………..Burllngton! Also with the second lowest tax burden on homes in Halton. Phillip thinks the money comes from the stars to deal with significant infrastructure issues left behind by Paul Sharman, and his zero tax increase bretheren. Burlington is changing, Phillip. The ‘get off my lawn’ approach will not help the next generation thrive here. Though, based on previous comments, suspect you might not care about the next generation much. Happy to discuss further.

      • Eve St Clair

        Another Liberal drinking the climate change Kool aid . Burlington has neglected aging infrastructure and one freak rain storm several years ago gives them license to blame aging infrastructure on climate change and allows our Liberal Mayor to enact all kinds of so called climate change initiatives on a whim

  • Jim Thomson

    If the council really believed there is a climate change emergency then the ice rinks would close. The mayor wouldn’t be jet-setting to France and Japan. The other councillors would generate less hot air on the topic.
    Climate Change Emergency is a PR stunt.

  • Wendy Moraghan

    I’m not sure why none of our council members aren’t driving electric vehicles. I agree “walk the talk” both myself and my husband drive EVs and they are amazing!!! Make the switch

    • Elan

      Wendy raises a good point. Walking the talk is important. Given, this Council is a grand total of 1 year in…let’s see if they decide to make the switch to electric over their elected term (given auto lease agreements currently in place, and the lilke). It would be fun if Council actually, as a whole, supported electric vehicles. I gather from the recent budget discussions, few Councillors are walking the talk on anything Green. Majority of Council slam dunked investment in electric buses. A grand total of 2 electric vehicle charging stations for the whole of Burlington were put forward by the Majority of Council. The imperative is get below 4% budget increase, Climate be damned.

      Editor’s note> The decision was to have two charging stations for each ward – the idea being to locate them in community center’s.