Greater Vancouver Food Bank concerned over proposed tax incentives for industrial food donations

CBC News

A proposal for a federal tax incentive encouraging grocery stores and restaurants to donate to food banks could end up overwhelming some volunteer-run organizations with products of little nutritional value says the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. …

“This motion is really just kind of an approval of the idea in principle and there’s a lot of leg work to be done to try and flesh out the policy,” said Malcolm Brodie, who is the mayor of the City of Richmond, but also the chair of the zero waste committee for Metro Vancouver and the chair of the National Zero Waste Council.

“We agree with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank that there has to be some rigour on the kind of donation that can be made for which you would get a tax receipt,” Brodie added. “The charities are not interested in your chewing gum or your marshmallows. And it’s not just a way to take your organic garbage and get rid of it and make it a problem of the food banks or other charities.” …

Read Full Story

Vancouver Food Bank concerned tax incentive for corporate donations could do more harm than good

Global News

About 70 per cent of food that comes to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank is donated by producers and retailers.

The National Zero Waste Council has come up with a tax incentive to encourage them to give even more, which would keep unwanted food out of the landfill.

“We go to FCM [Federation of Canadian Municipalities] and then to the federal government asking for a tax incentive for corporate donations of safe, healthy and edible food,” said Malcolm Brodie, chair of the National Zero Waste Council and the mayor of Richmond. …

Read Full Story

Richmond Police Department: Local control versus added costs

Richmond News

Richmond residents will soon be asked to make a choice: Keep the Mounties, or pay more for local control of policing in their community.

A new report from the City of Richmond indicates transitioning to a municipal police force would cost upwards of $20 million.

The report was drafted following a request from Richmond city council, which, on the whole, has expressed concerns about local control and oversight of the Richmond RCMP detachment.

In addition to the one-time transition costs, it is estimated that a municipal force will cost about seven per cent — or $3 million — more to operate on an annual basis, meaning a 1.5 per cent increase to property taxes.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said public consultation is forthcoming, and while he did not want to prejudice his own opinion before hearing from residents, he said he was concerned about the costs laid out in the report.

When asked what precipitated the request from council, Brodie said issues with the Richmond RCMP were mostly at the higher levels and did not have to do with any particular problems on the ground, with officers (for example, a growing class action lawsuit concerning bullying of females in the force).

“You’ve got fundamental issues with governance. A local force would have a municipal police board chaired by the mayor, and then city council gets one other appointee,” said Brodie.

A seven-member board would set budgets, determine policing needs, review staff performance, hire the chief constable, and handle labour relations and discipline.

The biggest point of contention from city hall, said Brodie, has been decisions made by Ottawa that appear to circumvent local input — namely a new, $1 billion regional RCMP detachment (Green Timbers) in Surrey. …

Read Full Story

Richmond eyes own police force

24 Hours Vancouver

The City of Richmond is examining creating its own police force to give it more control at the civic level, but also costing taxpayers millions in additional funding per year.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie said on Thursday his biggest issue with how the RCMP is run is that Ottawa calls the shots, and the city’s communications with them are limited.

“Cost control, transparency and accountability — we’re (currently) in a position that the RCMP is basically able to dictate some added costs and we’re in a position where we have to pay them,” he said, pointing to how the city has to pay for its share of the RCMP B.C. headquarters, in Surrey.

“The best example is Green Timbers, where years later we still don’t have an agreement for what we have to pay in terms of extra costs for that building.

“They had a perfectly good headquarter in Vancouver, they moved to Surrey and we’re supposed to pay a lot of extra costs.”

The cost for the city, assuming Richmond will have an independent police force in 2018, would be anywhere from $46.9 to $48.6 million — in addition to a one-time, $20-$24 million transition cost.

The current RCMP projected cost in 2018 is $44.7 million. …

Read Full Story

Gordzilla in the City: Metro Vancouver copies the Grinch’s yuletide plan

The Province

I’m sure many people will be as delighted as I am that Metro Vancouver — the unelected regional government agency originally established in 1886 to provide water to Lower Mainland residents — has expanded its mandate again to tell us how to celebrate Christmas.

On Wednesday, the group once known as the Greater Vancouver Regional District, launched its “Create Memories, Not Garbage” campaign for the eighth year in a row, with helpful suggestions on how to have an eco-Christmas … sorry, I should have said eco-holidays. Don’t want to inflict a micro-aggression on those with other festive season celebrations. …

Among the suggested “green angel gift ideas” in (according to Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, chairman of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee) the “festive and fun campaign” are to “paint and spruce up” someone’s old bike, donate to a charity on a loved one’s behalf, offer to play sports with your kids or buy gifts that: “Go smaller. But better.”

Take it from me, these are great ideas. Looking back, I bet our sons would have been way more excited on Christmas mornings getting gift cards, offers to repaint their old stuff or having donations made in their names than in unwrapping gaming systems, hockey gear that they constantly grew out of or endless boxes of Lego. …

Read Full Story

New incinerator rules under fire from Fraser Valley

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times

The B.C. government is poised to approve new standards for how Metro Vancouver’s garbage incinerator must operate and report its emissions.

And the Fraser Valley Regional District is objecting, saying the revised rules will not be tough enough. …

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, chair of Metro’s zero waste committee, called the FVRD position “unfortunate.”

He said Metro has made major upgrades in the last couple of years to “dramatically” reduce the emissions the waste-to-energy plant releases.

The latest $7 million retrofit cut nitrogen oxide emissions by half. The plant now accounts for 0.4 per cent of the NOx emitted in the region, down from 0.8 per cent in 2014.

“We’ve been investing significant dollars bringing up the environmental performance of that facility,” Brodie said, adding Metro remains committed to continuous improvement.

“I believe the most environmentally friendly solution for our solid waste and the most cost-effective is waste-to-energy.”

Read Full Story

Metro composting company seeks permit for higher emissions

Vancouver Sun

Organics composter Harvest Power is seeking an air quality permit to increase its “authorized emissions” after significantly exceeding air and odour emissions for the past two years.

The Richmond-based company, which composts most of Metro Vancouver’s food scraps, has asked the regional district to approve a permit based on “characterization studies” over the past two years that show emissions were more significant than expected, in some cases 11 times higher for certain compounds. …

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who is also chairman of Metro’s zero waste committee, said he believes the company has been working to reduce odours. He maintains the anaerobic digester has made a difference and said several other companies, such as the Vancouver landfill, are not required to have air quality permits and could be contributing to the odour problem.

“There are a number of facilities throughout the region that are not controlled for air quality by Metro Vancouver,” he said. …

Read Full Story

Create Memories, Not Garbage 2015

For the eighth year, Metro Vancouver is encouraging people to invest in creating memories rather than only buying gifts this holiday season.

Metro Vancouver Create Memories, Not Garbage holiday campaign
“Again with a festive and fun campaign, Metro Vancouver is providing great ideas for us all to be green angels and to give experiences and purchase quality gifts that will last,” said Malcolm Brodie, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee.

“Not only can the gift of time be the greatest gift of all, this type of holiday giving is another way for us to reduce the amount of garbage we create in our region,” he added. …

Read Full Story

Edible waste tax break campaign gaining traction with cities

Vancouver Sun

A national campaign in support of federal tax incentives for companies that donate edible surplus food to charities for the poor is gaining traction with municipalities in B.C. and across Canada.

Richmond council has joined Burnaby, the Township of Langley, the City of North Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary and others calling on newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to offer financial rewards to companies that help divert food that would otherwise be discarded. …

I understand anti-poverty groups when they say they need more permanent solutions, but I say that it is absolutely unconscionable to have so much edible, safe and healthy food being discarded, even if we recognize that it’s not the final answer,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, chair of the zero waste council. “It can be used, and it can be used very effectively.”

For Brodie, the plan ticks a lot of boxes, from lower carbon emissions and waste management costs to reducing hunger.

“It will reduce the amount of food that local government has to deal with as waste and it will save companies money by reducing their disposal costs,” said Brodie. “It ticks the environmental box, because organics still get into the landfill and it’s a great generator of greenhouse gases.” …

Read Full Story

Giving up the gold at the ROX

Richmond News

The first question he asked was, “how good is your security?”

Suffice to say, Richmond’s Commonwealth gold medal-winning and Olympic wrestling hero Arjan Bhullar had mixed feelings about handing over his prized possessions for the new ROX museum, which opens this Saturday exclusively for Richmond residents.

Bhullar’s memorabilia will be among more than 500 Olympic, Commonwealth and other sport artifacts on permanent display at the Richmond Olympic Experience (ROX) at the Olympic Oval. …

“The Richmond Sport Wall of Fame allows us to salute the extraordinary athletes, coaches, officials and builders who have helped make Richmond better and to share our community pride in their achievements,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. …

Read Full Story