Kelowna council has an encouraging approach to getting drivers to stop excessive idling.
A presentation to council on Monday (Apr. 25) suggested a six-month public education campaign before an anti-idling bylaw, with a $150 fine for violators, would start to be enforced. Drive-thrus were one of the concerns.
“I think that will be an area that’s going to be very hard to manage,” said Councillor Luke Stack. “I think we have to focus on public education so that people want to turn their vehicles off or want to get a vehicle that automatically shuts off.”
Regional Air Quality Program Co-ordinator Nancy Mora, who made the presentation, pointed out those drivers are idling by choice.
“You can definitely turn off your car when you see that the line, usually they’re pretty fast, but if you’re taking that long you can turn it off. After 10 seconds you are wasting fuel and producing more CO2. That’s the message we want to send.”
Councillor Brad Sieben also supported the education aspect but had concerns about enforcement.
“I think it’s a positive public awareness effort,” said Sieben. “I do hope we are very selective in not chasing people too aggressively for bylaw infractions and citizens take it as their mission to take photographs of licences plates and expect immediate fines to be dropped on people because that is not what I would be supporting.”
Councillor Mohini Singh said bolder measures need to be taken in looking after the environment, citing a study from the University of Waterloo indicating Kelowna, and the Okanagan, will see continuing rising temperatures due to climate change.
“It’s about time we consider doing something like this,” said Singh. “We have to think stronger, think outside the box to protect the environment.”
Council directed staff to come back with a drafted anti-idling bylaw and education program for later in the year.