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Edmonton city council votes to do away with e-bike rebate program

City hall in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. April 16, 2015.
City hall in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. April 16, 2015. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

Edmonton city councillors voted to cancel the two years left on its e-bike rebate program on Monday.

In a 10-3 vote, city council scrapped the program that offered residents a rebate of up to $750 on the purchase of an electric bicycle.

The initiative, for which the city had set aside $50,000 a year for three years, was a green program meant to be part of the city’s strategy to address climate change.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened an already difficult financial situation for the city and some councillors had suggested there could be better uses for the money going forward.

READ MORE: Edmonton mayor says funding situation for cities has become ‘more dire’ 

“I do not buy for a second that this is an acquiescence to doing nothing [on climate change],” Coun. Michael Walters said on Monday.
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“This is a time when we’re pretty close to broke.”

READ MORE: Edmonton city council to reconsider e-bike rebate if motion passes

Earlier this month, Mayor Don Iveson defended the rebate program and argued the current public health crisis and the financial fallout from it have “not changed the underlying climate imperative.”

Iveson, along with councillors Ben Henderson and Aaron Paquette, voted to keep the popular program going.

Next week, city council will consider a motion to cut another subsidy related to electric vehicles.

–With files from 630 CHED’s Scott Johnston

Watch below: (From June 11, 2020) Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson addresses the criticism the city has received for offering rebates to Edmontonians buying e-bikes at a time when the city has cut services due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 closures, saying the pandemic “hasn’t changed the underlying climate imperative.”

Click to play video 'Edmonton mayor defends e-bike rebate criticism during tough financial times' Edmonton mayor defends e-bike rebate criticism during tough financial times
Edmonton mayor defends e-bike rebate criticism during tough financial times