The city is looking at introducing yet another new policy – but this time I think their implementation strategy is dead on.
Unlike the garbage pick-up debacle, where the city didn’t clearly articulate an 80 litre volume limit or help the public with ways to reduce their garbage production, this new policy – if it passes – will begin with education. It’s an anti-idling policy for Campbell River. City staff have had their own policy since 2008 which limits idling times for all city vehicles but there has been nothing that applies to the general public – yet.
Although the idea is still up for discussion among city council and a policy has yet to be drafted, on Tuesday night after the Mirror went to press, an anti-idling implementation strategy was on the table.
Finally! A strategy for bringing in new rules, before actually imposing new laws on us that we don’t know much about. This is what the city needs to do more of.
The strategy calls for a comprehensive education campaign to alter behaviours. The city says it would begin its campaign this spring by working with local schools’ green teams to find out if there are any “hot spots” in the community, or areas that are notorious for idling.
The city would also put information on its website to explain how anti-idling would benefit the community as well as distribute information explaining when warnings and, as a last resort, fines, will be issued for not complying with the bylaw.
And remember that garbage issue I mentioned above? Well, after hearing tons of complaints from the public, the city decided it was only fair to extend the phase-in period until April. I’m not sure what they mean by “extend the phase-in period.” How can you extend something that wasn’t even there? There was what the city called a “grace period” which lasted a couple of weeks but it wasn’t as if people were being eased into the bylaw. Instead, people were continuing to put out two cans of garbage. Anyway, enough about the trash talk, I’m simply using it as an example to illustrate how I believe anti-idling is being dealt with on an entirely different level.
The report that went before council the other night says that if council does wish to proceed with the bylaw, a six-month phase in period is recommended. That time frame would include anti-idling tips and ongoing communication between the city and the community, which is exactly what has been lacking lately.
As for what the bylaw is asking of people, I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all. It would likely allow idling for up to three consecutive minutes so in the winter you can still leave your car running to warm it up. Idling because of traffic, while in drive-throughs or while passengers are getting in or out of a vehicle are also typically exempt.