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