Idling bylaw hits red light

The keys were pulled from the ignition on a potential vehicle idling bylaw by Vernon council Monday in the regular meeting.

While council has supported delegations of students addressing them with requests to curtail idling in the city with more "idle-free zone" signs, one councillor wants the push to come under the umbrella of the climate action plan.

The discussion emerged during the "unfinished business" portion of the meeting. The request was to increase education and enforcement through a bylaw, most recently pitched at the May 27 regular meeting by a group of students.

"I'm in favour of dealing with the Anti-Idling bylaw, but what I don't want to get into is a piecemeal, every meeting, picking on a good idea to deal with climate change," said Coun. Brian Quiring, council rep on the Climate Action Advisory Committee.

"We have a climate action task force that's putting together a climate action plan that is going to contemplate all of these great ideas that these kids have brought to our attention."

Quiring said he does not want to have staff dealing with them when the committee is going to be dealing with it on a "much more global level."

"I think we need a little bit of patience here, but I believe that it's a good idea," Quiring said.

Coun. Scott Anderson said adding another nuisance bylaw might backfire.

"I think that, No. 1, the more nuisance bylaws we have that are unenforceable, the more people are not inclined to follow any of our bylaws," Anderson said. 

"Second of all, there are any number of good reasons for idling. Pets in RVs or pets in cars with the air conditioning on. Yes, you can leave them at home but you can't in an RV because they're with you on a trip. The elderly in winter need a warm car."

In the end, Anderson said he prefers education as the best method of engagement with the public.

"There are any number of reasons and we're all adults and we can figure this out for ourselves. I would be in favour of an education program suggesting unnecessary idling is not good, but making it into a bylaw that we can't really enforce is counterproductive."

Council voted to receive the delegation requesting an increase in anti-idling education and enforcement
as heard at its Regular Meeting of May 27, 2019 but not act upon it.

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