Drive thru development sparks idling concerns
Idle no more?
A proposed drive thru restaurant application at Tsawwassen Springs has caused at least one Delta councillor to express her concerns about idling and the greenhouse gas emissions they cause.
Coun. Jeannie Kanakos voted against the first and second readings for a drive thru coffee shop in the Tsawwassen Springs golf course, which nevertheless passed 6-1 and will head to public hearing.
"I would move that the issues of drive thrus and potential impact on air quality come to the Environmental Advisory Committee in due time," she said.
The EAC is chaired by Coun. Bruce McDonald, who said the committee has discussed idling bylaws in the past, but added they're almost impossible to police.
"I guess I sort of look at this as the horse is out of the barn with regard to drive thrus," he said.
Coun. Scott Hamilton said he didn't think this development would be an issue for traffic because the drive thru is located within the Tsawwassen Springs parking lot and won't impact local streets.
Metro Vancouver developed a model anti-idling bylaw for consideration by municipalities in 2008 with general prohibitions of a maximum of three minutes idling within a 60 minute time period with penalties ranging from $50 to $2,000 per offence. Cities like Port Moody, Vancouver, and Surrey have all adopted anti-idling bylaws, though it is largely unenforced.
Coun. Robert Campbell suggested drive thrus would not be within the purview of anti-idling legislation anyway.
"If you're moving slowly through a drive thru lineup, are you idling. No, I don't think so. You're driving."
According to the Office of Energy Efficiency on the Natural Resources Canada website, each litre of gasoline produces about 2.3 kg of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), one of the gases suspected to be responsible for creating the greenhouse effect linked to climate change.
The province's Idle Free BC initiative claims Canadian drivers would collectively save 630 million litres of fuel, and $945 million in fuel costs (assuming a fuel cost of $1.50/L) by reducing idling by three minutes a day. This would also save 6.3 billion kg of greenhouse gas emissions.
The District of Mission enacted a zoning ban of new developments with drive thrus in 2010 following a 794-signature petition. That legislation was amended in 2012 to allow drive thrus in Commercial Highway Two zones.