Comox drive-thru ban no idle threat

Comox Valley Record

Comox drive-thru ban no idle threat

By Colleen Dane – Comox Valley Record

Published: June 25, 2009 6:00 PM

Comox councillors will have a few weeks to consider information about a proposed ban on future drive-thrus in the town.

A staff report on the proposal was received by councillors on Wednesday — but the decision on the tabled motion “that drive-thrus be permitted on parcels where they currently exist, and prohibited elsewhere” will not be made until July 15.

“I thought it was an exciting time for the Town of Comox to move forward,” said Coun. Patti Fletcher, about seeing the item up for discussion on this week’s agenda.

“We’re just putting something into place when I think a lot of us deep down inside know there’s an issue with … the idling,” said Coun. Russ Arnott.

The proposal for a ban on future drive-thrus was raised in April, following approval by council for the second stage of the Shopper’s Drug Mart development at the corner of Guthrie and Anderton.

That project includes two drive-thrus which are already instream and would not be affected by this resolution if approved.

While some residents and councillors say prohibiting any additional drive-thrus would help move the town in a more sustainable environmental and social direction, opponents say it would put them at a competitive disadvantage for economic development, not improve the environment at all and restrict people’s freedom of choice.

“I believe that the taxpayers in the Town of Comox are smart … and they can make their own decisions,” said Coun. Ken Grant.

Grant asked council to, instead of banning drive-thrus, consider an anti-idling bylaw.

The staff report prepared by council included feedback from 18 local governments. While a few had no experience with regulating drive-thrus, others had either limited where they could be built (like Golden, B.C., where they’re only allowed on the highway) or banned them altogether (Qualicum Beach, B.C.).

Staff note that none of the responses to their request for information commented on any economic implications.

Mark von Shellwitz, vice-president of the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association, said a new quick-service restaurant generates more than $1 million in development activity and employees between 50 and 100 people.

John Brocklehurst, who with his wife Lynda, owns the Comox Valley Tim Hortons, said 55 per cent of their Comox business is through their drive-thru.

The environmental information they submitted, which says drive-thrus aren’t that bad, differ from the findings by Natural Resources Canada and the B.C. Climate Action Toolkit.

Mayor Paul Ives said the town’s discussion has been raising national attention. He said he’s asked for a copy of the Capital Regional District’s model anti-idling bylaw for consideration at council.

“I do agree that this is perhaps a bold step,” said Ives about the drive-thru proposal.

Because the original resolution was referred by council, it has to be brought back at a full council meeting. Wednesday meeting was a committee of the whole meeting.

“Climate policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability emergency that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We are now in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.”
David Spratt, Philip Sutton, Climate Code Red, Australia, Published July, 2008

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