Proposed North Cowichan idling bylaw questioned

Efforts to curb the idling of engines in North Cowichan was discussed at a meeting scheduled for Nov. 8.

Efforts to curb the idling of engines in North Cowichan was discussed at a meeting scheduled for Nov. 8.

The decision was made after staff took some criticism at the council meeting on Nov. 2 for having a proposed bylaw on idling engines included among a number of other “miscellaneous” bylaws that were presented to council.

“I thought that during our discussion on this issue [in May] that we gave staff instructions to bring a [draft] bylaw back to council to see what it would look like,” said Coun. Tom Walker.

“Now I find it buried among a number of other bylaws and I’m uncomfortable with that.”

Council instructed staff to develop a draft bylaw after Coun. Kate Marsh said she would like the municipality to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of the unnecessary idling of vehicles on the Cowichan region.

At the time, Marsh pointed out the high rates of respiratory illnesses suffered by people in the region, and one of the factors that contributes to that is idling vehicles.

She acknowledged that the bylaw would be a difficult to enforce, but her intention was to raise awareness of the issue in the community.

Coun. Rob Douglas said the proposal to hand out $100 fines to people for idling their engines for more than one minute, with exceptions for emergency vehicles and other special cases, is “unreasonable.”

“I understand the environmental concerns around this bylaw, but I think a $15 fine is enough to prevent people from doing it,” he said.