The mayor's hotly anticipated green plan carries the hopeful title Change Is In The Air. And it has its good points. But it relies very heavily on other governments for funding and contains few of the modest local initiatives that could go a long way to battling problem number-one: smog.
We should have known not to expect great things...
• When the mayor stressed that his plan is merely "a framework for meeting our greenhouse gas and air pollution reduction targets," not an action plan for change.
For whom the road tolls
• Miller's plan points out that car and truck exhaust accounts for 35 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Hey, we're not expecting road tolls - at least not yet. But the mayor could have floated closing the downtown core to truck and car traffic during smog advisories. Hiring a few more staff to enforce idling bylaws would have helped, too.
• We love Transit City, the mayor's light rail plan. But while we're waiting for the money, why aren't we making transit free on smog days?
Retrofit a hit
• Miller's plan is high on retrofits. A great idea. Smart jurisdictions like California are sinking billions into retrofit and conservation programs instead of building new facilities to meet energy needs. Too bad building codes the mayor's talking about won't be in force for another five years.
Bike lane strain
• The mayor rides. A good thing. His admin has also doubled funding for cycling. But he'll have to roll out more than just words to convince us that the city will complete the 1,000-plus kilometres left in the Bike Plan by 2012 - after only managing to build a handful of kilometres in recent years.
Label us skeptical
• One of the more intriguing ideas in the mayor's green plan is a policy requiring food retailers to indicate how many kilometres produce has travelled to get to their shelves. Now, if he could only get grocers to bite.
• The plan is to double the size of our existing tree canopy. Hopefully, this means we can now spare the water to keep green alive in those godawful concrete planters.
• Push-mowers ain't coming to the burbs any time soon. Of course, we'd like to see leaf blowers banned outright, but the mayor probably can't afford to lose votes in the burbs. How about prohibiting the use of small-engine yard equipment on smog days?
Light bulb goes out
• Don't mean to make light of the plan to eliminate all incandescent light bulbs in city-owned buildings, but we're in the dark about whether the target date is 2008 or 2012 - both dates appear in the mayor's plan. How many city bureaucrats does it take....