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.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

Missing North Delta senior found deceased

88-year-old Jarnial Sanghera had been missing since the morning of Friday, May 15

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dry-grad cancelled, Elgin Park students make donation to food bank

Students donate $1,800 to food bank after being forced to cancel graduation event

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read