Erin councillors being cool anti-idling bylaw

A proposed anti-idling bylaw got a dubious reception from Erin council last week.

The bylaw, which is based largely on a bylaw passed last year in Orangeville, attempts to cut down on the harmful effects of emissions by prohibiting the idling of vehicles for any long­er than three minutes.

There are exemptions in the bylaw, including emergency, agricultural, and construction vehicles. There is also an ex­ception for times when the outside temperature is above 30-degrees Celsius or below zero, providing someone is in the vehicle.

But Erin councillor Josie Wintersinger stated flatly that the town could not impose the bylaw on residents. She questioned the feasibility of enforcing it, and who would be in charge of that. The proposed bylaw stated it will be “administered and enforced” by the town’s bylaw enforcement office, although there was some talk at council of also in­volving the OPP.

In Orangeville, that town’s director of bylaw enforcement said last year he expected fines to be laid based mainly on com­plaints.

Councillor Barb Tocher, who sits on Erin’s environ-mental advisory committee, said the bylaw originated with concerns in the community. There have been a lot of complaints from residents, specifically about school buses, which seem to idle for long periods of time, she noted.

But councillor Ken Chap­man has some reservations about the proposed bylaw.  He gave the example of those with health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis who may want to idle their vehicles for 10 minutes in the winter, and wondered how those people would be affected.

Tocher replied that there could be exemptions added to the bylaw for people with health conditions, but Chap­man said the proposal has inherent problems, regardless of those individuals.

He said police likely will not want to enforce it, and the bylaw will just “aggravate” the many commuters in Erin.

Mayor Rod Finnie said fortunately there are no drive-throughs in Erin, because those can be an area of concern when it comes to idling vehicles.

But town planner Sally Stull downplayed the effects of idling emissions, saying noise and air pollution coming from idling vehicles “barely registered” in tests in Toronto.

Tocher said while the effects may be minimal, they would be zero if there was no idling at all.

She said she would like to bring the comments from councillors back to the environmental advisory committee for its feedback.