Van. councillor wants ban on restaurant drive-thrus

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