Kentville council passes Atlantic Canada's first anti-idling bylaw
BY KIRK STARRATT
The Town of Kentville has another first to its credit. Council has given second and final reading to Atlantic Canada’s first anti-idling bylaw.
The bylaw, known as the Idling Control Bylaw, was created for the purpose of protecting the health and well-being of citizens by limiting their exposure to emissions from vehicle exhaust and for curtailing greenhouse gas emissions that affect the atmosphere.
As part of the initiative, members of the town’s Environmental Advisory Committee worked with the town’s solicitor to address various aspects of the bylaw. Following citizen input, some amendments were made to the first draft. First reading of the revised bylaw was given at the July 9 town council session.
Councillor Eric Bolland, who chairs the Environmental Advisory Committee, said second and final reading of the bylaw is the climax of about two years of educational efforts on the part of the town. “It’s a bylaw where we’re putting the health of citizens over convenience,” Bolland said. “It’s a first for Atlantic Canada and something council is proud of.”
The bylaw states that people can idle their vehicle engines for a maximum of three minutes. Bolland said this should give people ample time to scrape their windshields in frosty weather or get their vehicle warmed up and get on their way. It takes less than 30 seconds to sufficiently warm-up an engine before driving. “This is not about writing tickets,” he said, pointing out the bylaw is about having legislation to back up the town’s educational efforts. “We hope not to have to charge anyone.”
Turning the key an easy way to help the environment
Bolland said turning off the key is perhaps the easiest way for most people to help with climate change and greenhouse gas emission issues. In this era of high gas prices, there are also financial benefits to reducing engine idling. Less gas is consumed and this helps keep money in your pocket.
A recent survey conducted in town shows there is a lot of support for taking this action and Bolland said members of the younger generation are asking for such legislation through groups like environmental clubs in schools. He points out the Eco-Kings Action Team is in support of the initiative as well.
Climate change is a huge issue federally and Bolland said most Canadians want to do something to help the environment. About 50 municipal units west of Quebec have enacted similar anti-idling bylaws.
There are exemptions for emergency response vehicles and for other reasonable circumstances. These include vehicles that need to idle to power auxiliary equipment, vehicles experiencing mechanical difficulties or having mechanical maintenance work completed, and vehicles stuck in traffic or involved in a race or funeral procession. To view the complete bylaw, including the full list of exemptions, visit www.town.kentville.ns.ca.
Fines under the bylaw would range from $150 to $10,000 and, in default of payment, imprisonment of a period not exceeding one year. People who receive tickets would have 14 days to pay them to avoid going to court and being prosecuted for the offence.