(Dec. 14/16) If Vancouver’s new Zero Emissions Building Plan leads to a ban on natural gas, the city’s restaurants could be in trouble. Most of a restaurant’s energy use stems from the need to safely cook and preserve food, and natural gas is the primary fuel used for cooking.
Starting in 2017, the Zero Emissions Building Plan will phase out the use of fossil fuel in all new Vancouver buildings by 2030. Once the new emission limits take effect next year, restaurateurs are concerned that developers and landlords of new buildings will no longer lease to them or provide natural gas, due to their higher energy consumption than other retail tenants. Alternatively, landlords may charge restaurants significantly higher lease costs for their energy consumption.
If this happens, new restaurant development and investment in the city will take a hit. Low-margin restaurants will struggle to remain viable and menu prices will go up for Vancouver diners.
What we’re doing about it
Restaurants Canada shared our industry’s concerns at a recent Vancouver City Council meeting. We asked that either natural gas, or buildings used by restaurants, be exempted from the Zero Emissions Building Plan until affordable, renewable natural gas from biofuel is available in sufficient quantities to replace natural gas. We also supported Councillor De Genova’s motion to include natural gas as an acceptable form of energy in the Zero Emissions Building Plan.
Although the councillor’s motion was not accepted, the Council has agreed to work with Restaurants Canada and the industry to help alleviate our concerns.
Read our follow up letter to Vancouver City Council.