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Excessive idling bylaw, with fine, before council

Vehicles and watercraft caught idling excessively could face fines of $200 if council approves a new bylaw at its next regular meeting.

An Idling Control Bylaw was presented at Committee of the Whole Thursday. An update of the discussion is not currently available as the meeting’s audio and technical difficulty rendered the live stream motionless.

Council had asked in August for a report on a bylaw for excessive idling with a view to reduce environmental impact of emissions in support of its acknowledgement of a climate change emergency in May, 2019.

The new bylaw is also to guide the muncipality in the operation of its fleet and provide public education on environmental, economic and health impacts.

County Clerk Catalina Blumenberg stated in her report there are now enough municipal idling control bylaws in place to evaluate their effectiveness, identify enforcement issues, and recommend specific provisions and enforcement practices that could increase their impact. She referenced the 2015
report by the Clean Air Partnership, ‘Cracking Down on Idling: A Primer for Canadian Municipalities on Developing and Enforcing Idling Control Bylaws.’

“Various types of anti-idling provisions have been written into municipal by-laws for at least three decades,” she stated. “The first stand-alone idling control by-law was passed by the City of Toronto in 1996. Most subsequent idling control bylaws are very similar to the City of Toronto’s bylaw, though the newer by-laws contain many variations in the
application and wording.”

General provisions, she noted, set out the time beyond which vehicles are not allowed to idle.
“Typically, municipalities set a 3- or 5-minute limit.
Some municipalities also specify areas of the community where idling is prohibited, usually within residential areas.

“The best practice exercise demonstrated that three consecutive minutes is an acceptable time for idling. Given our climate, five minutes is the recommended
time when the climate is below 5 degrees Celsius. Three municipalities – Kingston, Toronto, and Windsor – prohibit the idling of boats as well as motor vehicles, which our proposed by-law recommends due to our geography.”

She also noted most recent bylaws have many exemptions, including for emergency vehicles and boats, as well as agricultural equipment.

“Currently, more than 50 Ontario municipalities have either standalone idling control by-laws or anti-idling provisions in other bylaws,” Blumenberg noted, sharing a sample list of municipalities and set fines.

Neighbouring municipalities of Trenton, Belleville and Napanee.

Reviewing financial considerations, she noted costs would need to be included in the 2021 budget and
could be offset by the collection of fines.

Costs associated are estimated to be related to staff time for issuing the fines, an advertising and awareness campaign, vehicle decals, and “potentially high capital costs associated with outfitting fleet with the appropriate hardware/software to ensure compliance.”

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  1. Susan says:

    The bylaw officer should rake in a fortune at the drive thrus!

  2. ADJ says:

    Is this wise and thoughtful of the future? Example: A senior at the Clinic for an appointment, It’s mid January, -25*C, doesn’t wish to wait inside because of Covid so freezes the buns in a cold car. Seniors are going to be the most vulnerable. Most don’t wish to go against the rules.
    The “policing” of this policy will be impossible. If this passes into law I for one will be monitoring the behavior of our elected Council and it’s staff and record for future reference and discussion. I encourage others to do the same. Council has more important issues to occupy their time. Stick to governing our County, leave this issue for the Province.

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    While I believe that most would agree that excessive idling is not good for the environment, I am not sure if it is a great enough problem here for council to worry about. Also, there is the question of enforcement – there is no point having a bylaw that cannot be enforced. I think we have more immediate issues to worry about.

  4. ADJ says:

    More micro management! What was the catalytic converter supposed to do and why was our gasoline cut with ethanol if it wasn’t to “clean up” our emissions. I know I paid out a lot(as we all did) for E tests on my vehicles over the years. This is just another municipal government cash grab…and just because other municipalities are doing it we have to fall into line. As I stated to my councillor I’m all for saving the planet but this is really a weak excuse for environmental protection when for instance delivery trucks, buses, trains, and locally the Glenora ferry are idling while in service.
    Mentioned here is the cold weather concern but what about mid-July, +30* and a real muggy day. How long will those tourist motorhomes, it’s all about the tourist you know keep stopping and starting the engine for AC relief. A trip up Main on a busy summer day with 30 + cars/ trucks idling is not uncommon and could take a half an hour. Many of the traffic lights in Picton are on red for more than 3 min.
    C’mon Council,, think about what kind of can of worms this will be?
    This idea will end up costing County Council a bunch and could result in a legal challenge.
    Who is dreaming up these proposals and why is the taxpayer always the bad guy? Will there be bylaw officers to enforce this? If so I propose they actually test the vehicle before issuing the warning/fine. A simple test probe up your tail pipe indicates the levels..I’ve seen it done at the emissions centre.

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