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Last updated at 11:55 AM on 17/12/07  


Banning the drive-thru print this article

Coffee shops, fast-food restaurants, banks and now liquor stores; they all have jumped on the band wagon and added drive-thrus to their establishments in the last decade.

Was the invention a convenience for the consumer in an ever-changing fast-paced world or a brilliant marketing tool to increase sales? Whatever the reasoning, it worked. At any one time there are at least ten vehicles lined up at several of the drive-thrus in Grand Falls-Windsor.

Things are different these days than in our grandparents’ world. There is more access to transportation, more households have two parents working and more and more teens are using mommy and daddy’s vehicles after school and at night. Thus there are more people on the run and more people using the convenience of drive-thrus.

Despite the popularity of drive-thrus, more Canadian cities and towns are embarking on anti-idling campaigns, trying to pass bylaws banning these fast-operating lines.

You can’t argue that idling cars emit potentially harmful greenhouse gases into the air. In fact Natural Resources Canada reports that an idling car can release up to twice as many exhaust fumes as a moving car. It also states that studies have shown a direct link between contaminants in vehicle emissions and significant respiratory health effects. The department also revealed that ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine and that if every Canadian driver avoided idling for five minutes per day, it would prevent 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.

One lobby group known as the Council of Canadians, in London, have launched an online petition targeted at municipal, provincial and federal governments to ban drive-thrus in Canada. They are asking people to sign the petition, which demands that all levels of government impose an immediate moratorium on all new commercial drive-thru operations and establish a timetable to phase out all existing drive-thru operations through zoning or other by-laws.

This is a new level of consciousness that is arising around the world in response to climate change.

Banning drive-thrus is one way you can limit driver’s opportunities to idle their vehicles. In Grand Falls-Windsor some of the morning line-ups at the local coffee drive-thru are so long that they stretch out onto the street and this can cause a threat to public safety. However, town officials and the business are working on solutions – neither of them involve banning the drive-thru.

Is it really necessary to ban them? The consequences mean more land will be needed to make bigger parking lots – thus more trees have to come down. And, more staff will be needed to serve the longer line-up of customers inside the store. This could be difficult as these kinds of establishments are already crying out for workers here in Newfoundland and Labrador as a result of the exodus of our young people to Alberta.

The ultimate outcome could see these businesses closing their doors.

Hopefully those out there addicted to coffee won’t have a problem with it.

Wendy Houlihan

17/12/07  

 

 

 

 

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