AirCare defenders hope for reprieve

Vehicle testing program set to be scrapped next year

Critics of the plan to scrap AirCare testing warn it will mean an increase in heavily polluting vehicles on the roads.

Metro Vancouver directors will again urge the provincial government to continue the AirCare program, which is slated to be dismantled at the end of next year.

They voted at Thursday’s environment and parks committee meeting to draw up a new staff report that may offer up fresh ammunition for preserving the tailpipe emission testing stations that force heavily polluting vehicles to get fixed.

“Whenever you go to a municipality or anyplace that doesn’t have AirCare you see vehicles with billowing smoke coming out, ” Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters said.

“You really see how protected we are in the Lower Mainland with AirCare.”

Metro voted three years ago to support extending AirCare until at least 2020, but that was rejected last year by the provincial government, which announced the program would be wound down at the end of 2014.

Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal, who chairs the committee, said she strongly supports maintaining AirCare because modern cars, despite much improved pollution controls, can still have emission failures.

As of 2010, the failure rate at AirCare was 22.3 per cent for pre-1995 vehicles and 7.4 per cent for 1995-2003 vehicles (newer models are exempt from testing.)

Owners of older vehicles must pay $46 every two years for testing but lower fees are expected in the final year of the program.

The provincial government says air pollution from cars has declined as technology improves and the mandatory tests no longer provide the benefit they once did.

Also campaigning to keep AIrCare – and its 110 union jobs  – are officials with the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union.

Union spokesperson Stephanie Smith predicts a rise in pollution if the program is scrapped.

“We know light vehicles are the largest contributor to smog-producing pollutants as well as ground-level ozone,” she said.

A BCGEU-led report warns there could be significant backsliding as old smoke-belching vehicles are put back on the road and motorists neglect their cars’ emission controls or even disable them to improve performance.

AirCare is run by TransLink but the $17.5-million annual cost of running testing centres is entirely borne by motorists through fees, so killing the program would not save TransLink or the government any money.

Metro is also continuing to push for an AirCare-like program to target heavy trucks.

Just Posted

White Rock shredding company says privacy breach allegations are ‘simply untrue’

A ‘whistleblower’ reported to media that sensitive documents were left exposed to the public

Surrey RCMP’s Outreach Team expands services for vulnerable citizens

New team comes in the ‘wake of stabilization’ of 135A Street

Vigil in Surrey tonight to honour victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

The candlelight vigil is one of many events planned locally in the wake of the massacre

Delta mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

New ‘Cloverdale Concerts’ venture touts Shannon Hall as Commodore-like venue for live music

Plan is to hold concerts on weekends, with focus on rock, metal, blues and country bands

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Surrey man arrested after allegedly punching woman during soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. dairy farmers say federal budget not enough to cut losses from USMCA

Concerns raised over vague details, funding access and impacts on growth

Free app launches to help immigrants, refugees as they settle in B.C.

Mobile app Arrival Advisor was developed by Vancouver-based non-profit PeaceGeeks

Catch-up immunization aims to stamp out B.C. measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

Latest phone scam tricks Vancouver seniors out of $3.1 million

Police caution the public about using a landline phone

Most Read

l -->