UPDATE: Kamloops City council approved the three-minute idling limit Tuesday.
An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
EVER THINK ABOUT how much gasoline we waste, and how much air pollution we pump into the atmosphere just by standing still?
City council wants to amend its bylaws to make it a finable offense if we idle our vehicles for more than three minutes.
Commercial vehicles in residential areas are already restricted but an amendment coming in front of Kamloops council Tuesday would extend the prohibition to all motor vehicles within City boundaries.
According to a report from staff, 62 per cent of Kamloops’ greenhouse-gas emissions come from vehicles, and three-quarters of those are from passenger vehicles, buses and recreational vehicles.
The report surmises that extending idling restrictions to all motor vehicles “will have positive environmental, economic and social benefits.”
There would be exceptions for “reasonable” situations such as police and fire vehicles, traffic congestion, signals and vehicles with heating and refrigeration systems for their cargo.
Those whose gut reaction is to consign this amendment to the file of stupid council ideas might want to consider the overwhelming public concern about air quality in this area. Consider, too, the report’s estimate that unnecessary idling of three minutes a day wastes 630 million litres of fuel in this country each year.
Still, an obvious question is whether police and bylaws officers are now going to be equipped with stop watches and go around timing how long drivers are idling their vehicles, and handing out fines.
Of course not. The report itself understates the enforcement challenge when it says it would be “relatively time consuming.”
Though it might be enforced once in a blue moon based on somebody’s complaint, it’s really nothing more than window dressing on top of existing programs aimed at protecting air quality. Reducing automobile idling would certainly be a good thing, and this bylaw will make news when it’s adopted, after which it will be promptly forgotten.
This one comes under the category of having a bylaw for the sake of having a bylaw.
Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.