Tim Horton’s Places Blame On Consumer Demand

Study defends drive-thru air

Claims regular cafes have larger carbon footprint


You’re sitting in a drive-thru, waiting in a long line of idling cars for that morning cup of jo from the local Tims.

Is it good for the environment?

Not really, but it’s still better than the alternative, according to an Ontario Restaurant and Hotel Association report.

"There’s a lot of myths about drive-thrus and cars," said Robert Evans, president of the association.

"When we talk about the full environmental impact, in the end, a drive-thru restaurant has a smaller (carbon) footprint. The building is smaller, the parking lot is 20% smaller (which) reduces urban sprawl. It’s not just idling, it’s the total package."


According to the study by consulting firm RWDI, a parking-only location produces 20% more smog and 60% more greenhouse gases than a drive-thru outlet, most of that coming from time spent looking for a parking spot.

"When you drive into the parking lot, you have to drive around and look for a spot," Evans said. "You may have to drive around twice or wait for someone to back out."


Dr. Quentin Chiotti, a senior scientist at Pollution Probe, questioned some of the report’s conclusions.

"My feeling is how many Tim Hortons do we have that actually have a parking problem? It’s not an issue of driving around looking for a parking spot."

Chiotti was surprised by the study’s finding that many emissions come from restarting an engine when leaving.

"The new generation of cars don’t have that start-up problem," Chiotti said. "The argument that you’re burning more fuel by turning it off and restarting it is false."

Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish wants to continue working with the restaurant industry to reduce emissions. Mississauga council has been fighting the growth of drive-thrus for the past five years.

"If you’ve got a drive-thru and there’s a huge lineup, you open two windows," she said. "If that’s not good enough, you open four windows.

"If you get people through the lines quickly, you’re making more money, and they’re causing less mess."

Tim Hortons has implemented a number of changes and continues to look for areas of improvement.

"We’re trying to cut down service times with better location design and not requiring signatures on credit card purchases," spokesperson Nick Javor said. "But drive-thru restaurants are a consumer trend and a consumer demand."




Drive-thrus study ordered



The city moved closer to placing restrictions on the development of drive-thrus last night with the approval of a report by planning committee.

City council asked the planning department to review potential zoning bylaw provisions to regulate drive-thru facilities.

The city needs to look at site-specific issues as well as overall city planning connected with drive-thrus, Coun. Shirley Eggleton said.

Eggleton suggested the city can keep drive-thrus away from residential areas and ensure businesses provide customers with the option to park as well as drive through.

Another problem is the number of vehicle spaces provided in drive-thru lanes, Eggleton said, referring to the Tim Hortons at Brookdale Plaza on Chemong Road.

"There are times when I cannot get into the entrance off Chemong because the cars are in the street," she said.

City zoning bylaws don’t regulate how many vehicle spaces businesses must provide for drive-thru lanes, planning division manager Ken Hetherington said.

"Perhaps that’s one area that we should explore," he said.

In a report to council, Hetherington states the city could stop any new drive-thrus from being built in pedestrian-oriented areas such as the business sections of downtown and Hunter Street East.

While the city can regulate where drive-thrus are built, Hetherington states the Ontario Municipal Board – a quasi-judicial body that considers appeals for municipal planning issues – has ruled against attempts to ban drive-thrus.

Blanket bans of drive-thrus have been overturned by the Ontario Municipal Board, he states.

The Ontario Municipal Board has decided banning drive-thrus would be a disadvantage for the elderly, the disabled and parents with young children in their vehicle, Hetherington states.

Otonabee Ward Coun. Doug Peacock asked if there are specific drive-thru sites that are causing problems.

"I don’t get too many complaints about it. In the south end there are very few drive-thru locations," he said. "I believe site planning can control a lot of the issues."

Eggleton and Coun. Bob Hall, the two Northcrest Ward councillors, are the most recent council members behind the drive to regulate drive-thrus.

Eggleton asked staff to look into the issue in July when she learned another drive-thru restaurant was planned near Portage Place, north of the Wendy’s restaurant on Chemong Road.

At the time, Eggleton cited concerns about idling and traffic congestion.

Eggleton and Hall failed to convince council to put the brakes on a plan to add a drive-thru to the Esso gas station at Chemong and Towerhill roads in October 2006.





Park the car and walk in; City may put brakes on drive-thrus


Posted 2 days ago

It may become a little harder to find a drive-thru in certain parts of the city if the city council goes ahead with a plan to potentially restrict where they can locate.

Drive-thrus at businesses such as the Tim Horton’s on Hunter Street East and the Scotiabank at Hunter and Water streets could be the last of their kind.

Planning director Malcolm Hunt suggests the city could stop any new drive-thrus from being built in pedestrian-oriented areas such as the business sections of downtown and Hunter Street East.

But he stops short of any specific recommendations. Instead, Hunt proposes the planning department review potential zoning bylaw provisions to regulate drive-thrus in the city.

City council will consider the issue when it sits as planning committee on Monday.

While the city can regulate where drive-thrus are built, Hunt states the Ontario Municipal Board – a quasi-judicial body that considers appeals for municipal planning issues – has ruled against attempts to ban drive-thrus.

Blanket bans of drive-thrus have been overturned by the Ontario Municipal Board, Hunt states in a report.

The Ontario Municipal Board ruled against a decision by the City of Ottawa to ban drive-thrus in certain types of areas, he states.

But the board upheld the City of Toronto approach, which regulates drive-thrus on a case-by-case basis through zoning bylaw provisions. In Toronto, new drive-thrus are prohibited in residential and mixed commercial-residential areas as well as certain pedestrian areas.

Toronto restricts new drive-thrus from locating within 30 metres of any home.

The Ontario Municipal Board has decided banning drive-thrus would be a disadvantage for the elderly, the disabled and parents with young children in their vehicle, Hunt states.



Air pollution in London boosts risk of heart attack

Tue, January 29, 2008






Short-term exposure to air pollution is killing 6,000 Canadians a year, and London is in one of the worst areas of the country, according to a report released yesterday by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The report also found few people are aware fine particle pollution can increase the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. For individuals, such as smokers, it can increase the risk 94 per cent.

And even a short surge in fine particle pollution — 24 hours — can increase the risk of heart attack by 69 per cent, the foundation said.

"Most people are aware of smog advisories, but they don’t act on them," said Dr. Robert Hegele, a Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher and professor of medicine and biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario.

Elderly people and those who have had heart problems should stay inside on days when an air quality advisory has been issued, Hegele said.

Air quality across Canada has improved in the last few years.

However, there has been no significant change in fine particle pollution, produced by a wide variety of sources including cars, diesel trucks, factories, power plants, windblown dust, smoke from wood stoves and outdoor burning.

Ontario, Quebec and interior British Columbia are the worst areas for the pollution while Newfoundland and Labrador have the least.

In Ontario, the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton are identified as having the highest daily readings, creating an elevated heart attack risk.

But the London area’s air is close to the same poor quality, Hegele said.

The foundation report said people should be aware that the risk from the pollution is year-round, not just in the summer, and that rural areas aren’t exempt.

Wood stoves, pellet stoves and wood-burning fireplaces can be sources of dangerous air pollution and are responsible for 28 per cent of the fine particulate pollution in Canada, according to the report.


The Heart and Stroke Foundation called on governments to reduce air pollution and its impact on heart disease by :

– Extending the national Air Quality Health Index that has been piloted in Toronto, Nova Scotia and British Columbia to all parts of the country so all Canadians have information on air quality and when to limit exposure

– Providing incentive programs to encourage consumers and industry to reduce air pollution

– Increasing investments in public transit, including investing in high-speed rail access in the Quebec City to Windsor corridor

– Ensuring all wood-burning stoves and fireplaces conform to national particulate emission requirements

January 25, 2008


Drive-thrus at fast food outlets have let hungry or thirsty people get what they want in an easy manner. The problem, however, is that vehicles are idling for at least a few minutes while the drivers give their orders and then wait for their item to be served.

That idling time is now becoming a social issue. A vehicle waiting at a drive-thru is polluting and also emitting greenhouse gases, which may contribute to global warming. In addition, a drive-thru may pose a risk for pedestrians in the vicinity.

Some cities, including London, Hamilton, Mississauga and Winnipeg, have started regulating or banning drive-thru businesses. Kitchener council is expected to look at drive-thru operations in March. This item goes on council’s agenda shortly after the city won two drive-thru disputes at the Ontario Municipal Board.

To be sure, the idea of limiting another freedom is not something to relish, but the cost of doing nothing may force councils in Waterloo Region and elsewhere to protect the public good. We all suffer if we don’t cut various kinds of pollutants and emissions.

The Kitchener environmental advisory committee has already called for a ban on new drive-thru restaurants. Yvonne Fernandes, a member of the committee, said, "I think it’s vitally important for us to stand firm on this issue," adding that the city has an "awful lot of drive-thrus."

Speaking for Tim Hortons, Nick Javor, the company’s vice-president of corporate affairs, said consumers have built drive-thrus into their lives. He pointed out that some customers have mobility problems, others have young children in car seats and some people don’t like to walk across dark parking lots.

His points may have some validity but they don’t seem strong enough to counter the environmental concerns. The fast food business would be wise to start asking itself how it can help solve this problem.



Van. councillor wants ban on restaurant drive-thrus

Updated Tue. Jan. 22 2008 1:49 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

A North Vancouver councillor wants to ban restaurants from building drive-thrus in his city because he’s worried about the environmental damages caused by idling vehicles.

Coun. Sam Schechter introduced a motion Monday night to ban drive-thrus at restaurants. The motion would also prevent the only current restaurant in the City of North Vancouver with a drive-thru, an A&W, from expanding.

"It’s because we have a situation globally where greenhouse gas emissions are increasing," Schechter told CTV British Columbia. "We need to do what we can to combat that on a local level."

But North Vancouver residents don’t seem very excited about the idea.

"It seems ridiculous to me. How long do you actually sit in a drive-thru?" said one man.

Another man said the measure didn’t make much sense because it wouldn’t do much for the environment.

But Schechter said saving the environment can only happen by taking tiny, incremental steps.

"That means not letting people build drive-thrus," he said.

Schechter also wants to push for more bicycle lanes in the city and he wants to encourage residents to use public transportation more often.

Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president of Western Canada’s Canadian Restaurant and Food Service Association, said imposing a ban on drive-thrus could be a problem for the elderly, the disabled and people with health problems.

"We’re interested in working with all municipal councils on making drive-thru better with less time in lineups," he told The Globe and Mail.

Von Schellwitz also said some studies indicate vehicles will emit more greenhouse gas during the search for a parking spot than from waiting at a drive-thru.

In the U.S., two cities in California and one in North Carolina have imposed moratoriums on drive-thrus as a result of similar initiatives.

City council has ordered an investigation into Schechter’s motion and has asked for a report in a few months.

If approved, North Vancouver would become the only city in Canada to have a ban on drive-thrus.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Peter Grainger

Mayor’s Sustainable Energy Council surveys – please pass on

The Mayor’s Sustainable Energy Council was established in October 2007 with the mandate of making London a leader in energy sustainability for today, tomorrow and the future. The Mayor’s Sustainable Energy Council is seeking your advice and opinions on where efforts should be focused in London on sustainable energy initiatives, which include energy conservation tips, energy savings incentives and green power. Please complete the business or consumer surveys which are easily accessible on the home page of the City of London under Have your Say at www.london.ca.