North Cowichan should bring in idling bylaw

The Municipality of North Cowichan is finally considering a bylaw to try to get people to stop excessively idling their vehicles.

The Municipality of North Cowichan is finally considering a bylaw to try to get people to stop excessively idling their vehicles.

The City of Duncan already has one and North Cowichan should definitely have one as well.

While vehicle idling may not be the largest contributor to the Cowichan Valley’s poor air quality, every piece of the puzzle is important.

This is a small thing each individual can do that will change their lives not at all.

And it’s worth it for each of us to do what we can when we see hospital admissions for children with respiratory diseases were, on average, 70 per cent higher in the Valley than the rest of B.C. between 1998 and 2012.

The report also found asthma rates were 14 per cent higher and chronic respiratory illness in people over 45 was 50 per cent higher in the Valley.

These are serious health consequences of the state of our air.

Even if you aren’t personally affected, you likely know somebody who is. You may even become one of those affected in the future should you develop something like heart disease or another chronic illness.

And idling is so unnecessary.

Once upon a time it was important to warm up one’s vehicle for a while before heading out on the road.

But modern cars, trucks and SUVs are not made this way.

Today, it’s turn the key and go.

So there’s no good reason to leave your vehicle running while you pop into the store. There’s no reason to leave your vehicle idling while you go inside to pick someone up.

Not surprisingly, the City of Duncan has led the way in the Valley with their idling bylaw. All too often you still see vehicles sitting empty on the side of a busy city street, or in a parking lot, engine chugging away and tailpipe spewing exhaust.

In North Cowichan, there’s currently nothing that can be done about that. Someone could leave their vehicle like that for hours — even, theoretically, until their gas tank ran out.

While it’s unlikely that even with a bylaw there will be many tickets handed out, it’s still important to have some way of addressing the situation.

If nothing else it’s a wake-up call for folks so they can get out of the habit of leaving their cars running when they don’t need to. Merely having a bylaw on the books lets people know that this is undesirable. Many have probably never thought about it before.

It’s a signal that North Cowichan takes the air pollution problem seriously.