Anti-idling cards may be shuffled out of Council’s deck

By David F. Rooney

A proposal by the now-defunct Air Quality Committee to issue local citizens with special cards they can hand out to people contravening the anti-idling bylaw has been put on hold and may be shuffled right out off the table after Councillors expressed concern about their potential to cause confrontation and conflict.

Councillor Chris Johnston nailed the issue when he agreed with Mayor Dave Raven’s reservations about the proposal, saying “you’re only asking for trouble.”

“It’s the manner of distribution — random people handing them out to random people and saying, ‘Here.'”

This is the text on the contentious proposed anti-idling card that Council declined to pass at Tuesday's meeting.
This is the text on the contentious proposed anti-idling card that Council declined to pass at Tuesday's meeting.

The proposed cards, which had been championed by Councillor Antoinette Halberstadt, ask, on one side, “Why Are You Idling?” and then list reasons why drivers shouldn’t idle.

With the exception of Peter Frew, who was absent from Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Raven and every Councillor except Halberstadt was leery of the proposal. They voted 4-1 against passing Halberstadt’s motion. She cast the only vote in favour of it.

“These cards come to us from the Ministry of the Environment who have already test driven them in other communities with success,” argued Halberstadt, who was chair of the Air Quality Committee.

That certainly didn’t cut any ice with the rest of Council.

Raven mused that they “may well be more of an irritant” than anything else and said he had discussed them with other citizens who reacted negatively to the notion of local residents handing them out to complete strangers.

Steve Bender called the cards confrontational and said Revelstoke would likely have more success by trying to educate those new residents and visitors who may be unaware of the community’s aversion to idling.

Phil Welock said the City should be enforcing the anti-idling bylaw not handing out cards to citizens to distribute. Tony Scarcella agreed.

But the cards haven’t been permanently discarded from Council’s deck.

Welock suggested tabling them until eight or nine months after the City has erected signs at the two entrances to town off the Trans-Canada and at the entrance from Highway 23S. It might revisit the issue at that time.

Council also agreed to a proposal that the Air Quality Committee’s final report, which included a lengthy list of recommendations on ways to control dust, be referred to Public Works Department staff for a cost-benefit analysis.

This marked the end of the Air Quality Committee. It was formally disbanded and Mayor Raven publicly thanked all of its members and contributors for their time and efforts since it was created in 2006.