Anti-idling back before council

Disappointed by council’s decision to shelve an anti-idling policy for one year, the Environmental Advisory Commission is giving it another shot.After a city staff report, outlining an anti-idling implementation strategy, was deferred for a year by councillors at a Feb. 1 council meeting the commission went to work re-drafting the policy.“We were urged to bring forward a report without a bylaw so we’re bringing it forward again this time with just an anti-idling campaign which we thought would be more palatable to council at this time,” said Peter Woods, chair of the Environmental Advisory Commission.The original packaged created by the commission and brought to council last November, asked council to draft an anti-idling bylaw after first running a media campaign to raise awareness.Woods said this time the education campaign (which was before council Tuesday night after the Mirror went to press) would last for an undetermined amount of time and would not lead up to a bylaw.It also gives the city the chance to build on School District 72’s anti-idling initiative which is focusing on implementing an idle-free zone for all schools through the Hub for Action on School Transportation Emissions campaign.As part of the education campaign, Woods said air quality in relation to idling could be incorporated into the city’s already existing woodstove exchange program, Earth Week celebrations in April and during Bike to Work Week in May and June including shared messaging for Clean Air Day.Woods said costs associated with an anti-idling education campaign would be minimal. The school district has offered the city a number of free Idle-Free signs for city facility parking lots and limited quantities of Idle-Free decals.Woods said the commission was disappointed council deferred the anti-idling policy and decided to try again after Mayor Charlie Cornfield and Councillor Roy Grant suggested Woods submit a new report that did not have a bylaw attached. He said the commission came to a consensus last year that an anti-idling policy would be in the best interest of Campbell River residents.Woods noted idling contributes to local pollution and the production of greenhouse gases and research shows localized air pollution negatively impacts the respiratory systems of children and seniors.