Update – Below is a full copy of the debate City Council had on the idea of an anti idling bylaw.
Nearly three years after Fort St. John City Council first made a resolution to look into the possibility of implementing an anti idling bylaw, Council has decided to re-examine its options.
At a council meeting in June 2008, city staff was asked to look into the possibility of obtaining grant funding under the Ministry of Environment’s B.C. Air Action Plan. Although grant funding is no longer available, staff told Council that the Idle Free BC website offers information about creating an idle-reduction campaign. Furthermore, the City recently received a letter from a resident asking the City to investigate implementing an anti-idling bylaw. In his letter, the resident says he has experienced excessive vehicle idling in his neighbourhood and believes it is extremely unhealthy for residents to have to breathe in the exhaust.
Currently, the Northern Environmental Action Team is conducting an idle reduction outreach program throughout the City. The program is designed to educate residents about the hazards of idling while specifically focusing on areas around schools and businesses.
The City had originally put forward a motion to wait until it received a full report from NEAT regarding its education and awareness campaign before considering a bylaw. NEAT is expected to be finished its campaign by December 2011. However, several councillors said they did not feel they should have to wait until the campaign is complete to consider a possible bylaw.
Council voted against the proposed motion and instead passed an alternate option that city staff would “investigate and draft an Anti-idling Bylaw for the City” to be prepared by April 30.
Mayor Bruce Lantz brought up potential problems regarding enforcing this type of bylaw. Lantz said the City would have to increase the number of bylaw officers it has to ensure the bylaw is enforced. However, Councillor Dan Davies said he believes that just because the City may not have enough bylaw officers to catch every idling vehicle that it should be prevented from implementing an anti idling bylaw.
Davies said one possible option is for the City to use a complaint-based system to catch idling vehicles.
Although both Prince George and Dawson Creek currently have anti idling policies – without strict enforcement – city staff told Council that most of the communities in the province that have anti idling bylaws are not located in the north.
According to city staff, if Council approves an anti idling bylaw, it will be the first municipality in northern B.C. to do so.
Below are copies of questions and answers regarding vehicle idling and idling myths and facts regarding diesel engines that were provided to city councillors.
Note: Please disregard the first page of the "Diesel Idling Myths and Facts" attachment.