SUCCESS!!! | Drive-thru ban bylaw given first approval

Drive-thru ban bylaw given first approval

By Marcel Tetrault, Comox Valley EchoJuly 17, 2009

If new fast food restaurants open in Comox, it looks like their customers will be going indoors for their Big Macs and double-doubles.

Comox council split down the middle over a motion to ban future drive-thrus in the seaside community, with the final vote coming down 4-3 in favour of the ban.

The decision has no effect on existing drive-thrus.

Councillors Russ Arnott, Ray Crossley, Patti Fletcher and Marcia Turner all supported the motion, with Mayor Paul Ives and councillors Ken Grant and Tom Grant opposed.

The next step will be to draft a bylaw that will have to wind its way through the approval process, including a public hearing where Comox residents can weigh in on the issue.

As far as Ken Grant is concerned, residents have already made their views known and they want more drive-thrus.

"The taxpayers have spoken on this," he said. "As a matter of fact, the word stupid has been used more often than any other bylaw that I’ve seen in four years.

"This is not a good thing. It’s costing us money, it’s costing us jobs and it’s costing us convenience."

He claimed that banning drive-thrus sends the message that Comox is "closed for business."

"I think that’s the wrong message," he said.

But other councillors were not convinced, with Crossley arguing that they could hear from the entire community first hand when the bylaw goes to public hearing.

"There are a lot of people that have not been part of this conversation," he said.

"This is a conversation that every community … is starting to have with people, and I’m not afraid to have it. It’s long past due, I feel."

The issue was a divisive one at the council table and, referring to a full-page ad that ran in several newspapers, Arnott said it is also becoming divisive within the community.

The ad, which lists councillors contact information, claims that "anti-car activists" want to ban all drive-thrus, not just new ones, even though it is clear that the Comox bylaw, at which the ad is targeted, is only for new drive-thrus.

"This misinformation is causing a lot of concern among residents," said Arnott. "This information is going out and what it’s doing is just stirring a nest here."

The council meeting was packed with fast-food restaurant owners and staff, some of whom spoke to council and argued that not only would the ban hurt their business, but it would also be counter-productive.

They argued that parking a car could produce more emissions than going through a drive-thru and people might actually travel further to use a restaurant with a drive-thru if the closest one was not drive-thru equipped.

"Collectively we are people on the move," said Comox Valley McDonald’s Restaurant owner John McInnes.

"Banning drive-thrus does not get cars off the road. What banning drive-thrus does, though, is get more cars into parking lots."

The restaurant owners are asking council to consider adopting an anti-idling bylaw rather than banning new drive-thrus.

They did agree that a selective ban in some parts of Comox, such as downtown, would be acceptable, but not a blanket ban that includes the main transportation corridors such as Guthrie and Anderton roads.

The entire issue cropped up after drive-thrus were permitted at the new development at that intersection that includes a TD Bank and a Starbucks, each with drive-thrus.

The issue is now with staff, who are tasked with drawing up the new bylaw.

“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

Editorial | We’ll take ours without corporate interference | Drive-thrus | Whistler British Columbia

We’ll take ours without corporate interference

Whistler – Do you like going through the drive-through to get your coffee or to do your banking? So do we. It’s a nice, convenient alternative, especially when you’ve got kids in the car, to parking and hauling everyone out, doing your thing, and then packing everyone in again.

Increasingly, however, citizens are asking their communities’ leaders to consider banning drive-throughs — or at least future ones — because of the inordinate amount of greenhouse gases produced by the vehicles sitting in lineups. The vehicles are, after all, not really getting anywhere, and people standing in a similar lineup emit virtually no greenhouse gases.

The Vancouver Island community of Comox is the latest town in which the issue is being played out. There, according to the Comox Valley Record, a recent staff report looked at 18 different communities and how they deal with the issue, ranging from those who did not regulate drive-throughs, to those who limited where the could be built (such as Golden, where they’re only allowed along the Trans-Canada Highway) or banned them altogether (Qualicum Beach).

To us, the most interesting aspect of the whole debate is not that bans are being considered, but the way in which the corporate world is making its case for not banning or limiting them. In Comox, for example, a group called the Comox Valley Drive-Through Coalition is asking people to contact their lawmakers and express their opposition to a proposed ban on future drive-throughs. The owner of the local Tim Hortons is quoted in the Record as saying it’s a matter of “choice” for customers: “There’s a lot of people that have mobility issues… or they have children in the car, or they’re just in a hurry. Just the fact that drive-throughs exist show that people want them.”

Fair enough. However, the mere fact that this “coalition” is being led by businesses that already have drive-throughs raises our suspicion. Since no one at town hall is suggesting that existing windows be decommissioned, could it be that the business owners fear that that might be the next step? Or, perhaps, the folks back at head office for McDonald’s Canada or Tim Hortons are directing them to oppose this step out of fear that the movement will grow and prevent them, on a broad scale, from opening future drive-throughs, causing profits to fall?

The most onerous part of the corporate response to the growing anti-drive-through movement is the phenomenon in which the spin doctors try to cast doubt on the science of climate change as a way to oppose grassroots anti-climate-change measures. The Council of Canadians says tactics similar to those being used in Comox were first employed in Canada in response to a similar initiative in London, Ont. The Council is urging lawmakers in Comox to dismiss the corporate-led, pro-drive-through campaign.

“This strategy of ‘manufacturing scientific uncertainty’ comes directly from the industry’s denialism playbook,” Cory Morningstar, the Council’s London chapter president, said in a statement issued on Wednesday (July 1). “The industry invests big money for public relations campaign(s) to raise doubts about the increasingly definitive scientific evidence. They realize that if you could argue about the science, then you can stop municipalities from trying to address the problem.”

Personally, we’re convinced that while research into the speed with which climate change is accelerating is ongoing, the phenomenon is mostly human-caused and people can take action to slow or reverse its effects. Sitting in a drive-through lineup is no sort of God-given right. We’ll gladly give up the convenience if it means reducing the impact we have on the planet’s future.

In the meantime, we think vested corporate interests should butt out and let communities make these decisions on their own.

“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

Full Presentation from July 9th Webinar | Gasping for Breath – Implementing Strong Anti-Idling Bylaws in Your Community

Gasping for Breath – Implementing Strong Anti-Idling Bylaws in Your Community. Extended PowerPoint Presentation from Canadians for Action on Climate Change attached.

Link to full presentation below.

Podcast coming soon. Contact:

Download the full presentation:

  • Gordon A. McBean CM, PhD, FRSC | Professor and Director Policy Studies | Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
  • Dr. Quentin Chiotti | Climate Change Programme Director and Senior Scientist | Pollution Probe
  • Fleur Storace-Hogan | Sustainability Support Technician | City of Burlington
  • Cory Morningstar | Council of Canadians | London | Canadians for Action on Climate Change

The issue of a drive-thru moratorium is a hot topic in many municipalities across the nation – what is industry’s response? Reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s response to anti-smoking efforts, ad campaigns are being run in London and Comox BC intended to question the science or promote ‘personal choice’ around drive-thrus. Are they hoping to sway pubic opinion and impede legislation? In the meantime, thousands of vehicles line up everyday in drive-thrus spewing unnecessary pollution into the environment.

Empowerment is as much about community mobilization as high-level political action. This is a local issue, with global consequences. Hundreds of leaders are gathered in Geneva discussing climate change. Many are from the developing world. The sense of urgency is palpable. We in the rich countries created the problem with our heavy use of fossil fuels, yet the people who will be most impacted will be the people in the poorest countries who had little to do with creating the problem. We need strong leadership at the federal and provincial levels, AND each of us need to make changes. Municipalities need to find the political will to effectively implement strong anti idling bylaws, to confront the enormity of Climate Change.

The most urgent need is to empower local government and local communities to understand climate implications and to take action. Health professionals and university academics have an important catalytic role. This fireside chat will provided stats, perspectives and inspiration to take on this role.

The topics of discussion in this Fireside Chat were
1) Implementing a strong anti-idling bylaw in your community
2) The contribution to Pollution
3) The contribution to climate change,
4) Drive-thrus
5) Barriers: political partisan issues, denialism, lack of political will and leadership
6) The crucial role of the health and academic sectors re: taking action on Climate Change

Ontario’s smog causes 9,500 deaths per year, medical association says. Of these 1,000 occurred immediately after times of intense pollution.

The research on the human costs of pollution and pollution-related diseases estimated that around 21,000 people in Canada will die from breathing in toxic substances drifting in the air this year with 3,000 of those deaths due to short-term exposure to smog.

CHNET-Works! is a project of the Community Health Research Unit, University of Ottawa.
CHNET-Works! hosts Fireside Chats around current and pressing community health issues.
140 ‘chats’ hosted since January 2009 – no registration fees, no travel costs, no green house gas emissions!

Idling Presentation for Canadian Municipalities July 2009 PPM.ppt

NEWS VIDEO | RWDI greenwash study used by Utah food & restaurant association to dispute attempted drive-thru ordinance …


Salt Lake City asks drivers to reduce vehicle idling

July 10th, 2009 @ 10:05pm

By Sarah Dallof

SALT LAKE CITY — The City of Salt Lake is asking people to reduce air pollution by reducing vehicle idling times at places like the airport and drive-through businesses.

The request comes a week after a group of Utah doctors proposed an ordinance requiring drive-throughs be shut down on bad-air days. Though the city isn’t asking for drive-throughs to be shut down, they are asking that if you’re idling for more than 10 seconds, you turn your engine off.

"We’re trying to prevent air quality issues in the valley, and this is one way people can do it," explained Vicki Bennett, director of the Salt Lake City Office of Sustainability.

Bennett’s office launched the Idle Free Campaign last year. Now that the weather is heating up, it’s issuing a reminder: If you’re waiting to pick your kids up, at the airport, or in a drive-through; don’t do it with the engine running.

"I think it’s probably a good idea. I don’t know how practical it will be," driver Gerald Ducatte said.

Driver Joe Bindel told KSL News, "It would probably reduce smog in the city."

The Office of Sustainability cites a study by the California Energy Commission that, aside from the 10-second rule, finds that shutting and restarting an engine is not damaging to the vehicle.

"You’ll save money, you’ll save gas, and you’ll help prevent pollution," Bennett said.

But the Utah Restaurant Association is looking at another study, one by Canadian Environmental Engineering firm RWDI.

"What they’re suggesting, through this study, is that there are more emissions going into the air from turning off and starting again than sitting for a few minutes," said Melva Sine, president and CEO of the Utah Restaurant Association.

The association says 68 percent to 70 percent of fast food business comes from the drive-through and suggests people try alternatives like going at non-peak hours to avoid waits.

"Ten seconds is such a short time. I wait at red lights longer than 10 seconds," Sine said.

The Office of Sustainability is handing out window stickers advertising their campaign. You’ll also see similar signs at schools and the airport.


“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

Tim Hortons Letter to London Mayor & City Council

Tim Horton’s continues to use community involvement to green wash over their environmental degradation which is all externalized to our shared environment.

In the letter below – sent to city council June 24th, 2009, the group once again highlights their recent recycling efforts. They have been talking about this for years. They claim to have recycling programs in 125 stores. There are currently over 3,000 stores. They recycle where cities can accommodate their existing packaging. They have successfully fought against changing their packaging to accommodate standard recycling requirements. In 2008 – they unveiled a their recycling plan. The plan? – to offer recycling bins for paper, cans and bottles.The letter below gives kudos to city staff for “recognizing the science behind our contention that “there is no air quality benefit to the public from eliminating drive throughs”.

In Nova Scotia, Tim Hortons cups accounted for 22 per cent of all identifiable waste (2005). Tim Hortons is the fourth largest quick service food chain in North America and the largest in Canada, with 3,294 stores system wide (2,870 in Canada and 424 in the US)(December 2008) – with such proliferation the chain’s garbage and pollution levels are continuing to soar. In 2005 it stated on the website that Tim Hortons is always exploring alternative packaging materials, particularly those that are recyclable or biodegradable (It still states this) … however, after a conversation with Greg Skinner, Tim Hortons manager of corporate affairs, it was found that no such research existed. It was also discovered that the corporation was doing nothing to change the composition of the paper cups. On a national level, also in 2005 – Stephen Johnston, Tim Hortons regional vice-president of operations, told a news conference that Tim Hortons is also working toward making its paper cups easier to recycle, and perhaps even biodegradable. We are now in 2009. The ‘green shift’ packaging program has taken off and retailers all over Canada have switched to compostable, recyclable or zero waste policies.

This year – the TDL group (Tim Hortons) went to war with the city of Toronto who wanted the corporation to redesign their cup. The city stated that a cardboard cup with a plastic lid screws up the recycling process by contaminating the paper with plastic. The city also wants stores to offer a 20 cent discount for those who bring their own mugs. The suggestion that Tim Hortons replace disposable coffee cups with reusable mugs or a deposit-return system, prompted outrage. Tim Hortons successfully forced the City of Toronto into submission on its plans to reduce waste, so much of which comes from this one hugely successful chain. The city called it a “compromise”. So much for trying to get one million cups a day (Toronto only) out of the garbage stream. Tim Hortons refused to change their cups or lids, or to contribute to the three million dollar cost of recycling machinery to separate them. And for some reason, they got their way – again. Spokesman. Nick Javor responded that the company will "absolutely not" redesign its cups to suit Toronto, said Javor, who says plastic lids are the only leak-proof products on the market. Even so – on the Tim Hortons website it lists Toronto as one of the cities that participates in a recycling & composting program.

Hard economic times haven’t hurt Tim Hortons Inc., Canada’s largest chain of coffee and doughnut shops. This year – the company’s net income in the first quarter rose by 7.5 per cent compared with a year ago to $66.4 million, from $61.8 million. Annual revenue for Tim Hortons in 2008 was $2.04 billion – up 7.8 per cent from $1.9 billion in 2007.


874 Sinclair Rd., Oakville, Ontario L6K 2Y1

TELEPHONE (905) 845-6511 -FACSIMILE (905) 8450265

June 24, 2009

Mayor DeCicco-Best

Members of Council

City of London

214- 300 Dufferin Avenue

P.O. Box 5035

London, Ontario

N6B 122

Dear Mayor DeCicco-Best and members of London Council:

Sent Via Email


I am writing to you on behalf of the Tim Hortons franchisees in London. Tim Hortons has 68 London locations that employ 1900 people. Our first London location opened in 1973 and we serve approximately 80,000 customers a day.

The information that follows in this letter was presented as a deputation to the Environment and Transportation Committee on June 22, 2009.

Iam here tonight to speak in support of the Environment and Transportation Committee’s Report and the recommendations on idling, as they pertain to drive thrus and the need for public awareness and education. We believe the report contains a fair, balanced and evidenced based approach to this important issue.

We as Tim Hortons welcome the recognition that the proposed idling by-law should not be applied to cars in drive thru, as cars in a drive thru are NOT in a single stationary position for an excessive amount of time, but are moving in a stop and go fashion more like slow moving traffic. This fact alone makes the enforcement of any idling by-laws on drive through users a challenge and not practical. In acknowledging this, London would be joining other municipalities like Peterborough and Burlington that have done the same.

A year ago, somesuggested an outright ban of drive thrus. The staff report you are reviewing today clearly rejects this approach and recognizes the science behind our contention that “there is no air quality benefit to the public from eliminating drive throughs”.

One year later, the RWDl study still stands as the only peer-reviewed analysis of the impact on the environment of banning drive throughs. The staffs report recognizes the RWDl conclusions. City staff have done an admirable and credible job sorting through all of the information, given the complex subject matter.

In the process of getting to today, Tim Hortons understands that the City of London is serious about reducing C02 emissions, and wants to help with a positive response to the global warming problem. We understand that you expect companies like ours to do our part as well.

Let me assure you that we take environmental matters seriously at Tim Hortons. Our customers and stakeholders expect us to be good neighbours in the communities in which we operate.

Page 2

We have had discussions with staff and have offered to partner onpublic education and communication. Last year, you may recall we invited automotive expert Doug Bethune to come and present to this committee. He shared his views onhow best can the individual driver, mitigate their auto based GHG contributions. He reminded us that improved daily driving behaviours, together with proper vehicle maintenance, would contribute more to the GHG reduction challenge. Avoiding jack rabbit starts, properly inflated tires, noexcessive braking, driving the speed limit and regular engine maintenance were a few that he mentioned. He also mentioned that fuel efficient engines, cleaner burning fuels, and new technology, like hybrid vehicles, will help mitigate the impacts we are discussing here . . . and produce cleaner air and fewer GHG‘s.

l was happy to see inclusion of the above same points, noted in the staff report section “Background information on idling” Table I. The largest impact on GHG generation with the vehicle in motion is due to: transportation choice, vehicle choice and, to Doug‘s point, driving style.

It is our intent to discuss this topic with CAA London. Who better as a credible and well recognized source, than the CAA to spread this message about best driving practices? I will be personally contacting the local London Chapter, onhow we can work together, in concert with the City of London and provide this important information to the public.

Our experience has taught us that the messages we post onour video menu boards instore and at the drive thru lane, are indeed read by our customers. It has become a very effective way for us to communicate our key messages.

We will also consider developing special message tray liners and posters to promote these better driving tips. We will work together to ensure that our message is consistent and that we run our program at a time when it will complement the public awareness campaign recommended in this report.

As mentioned earlier, Tim Hortons in London serves some 80,000 Londoners every day. We think that a program ofthis nature, in conjunction with the efforts of the City of London, will have an impact onthis issue.

And finally I want to underline that our business really relies on our customers using their time and their vehicles more efficiently. We are always worried about peak demand management. It is in our own best interest to serve as many people as quickly and efficiently as possible . . . both in store and in the drive thru.

Tim Hortons will continue to develop innovative ways to speed up our service and enhance the customer experience. And we will work with cities like London to design and develop new facilities to keep safety, speed of service and efficient access, as workable standards.

We will also continue to support the City and develop programs that support helping the environment. As some of you may be aware, we have partnered with Communities in Bloom. Last year we sponsored the recycling program called Our Heritage/Our Future.

In conjunction with the “Greening of Festivals”, special blue bins featured pictures of artifacts from the Museum of London. These recycling bins were used at all of the events held at Victoria Park.

Page 3

This past April, during Earth Week, we hosted here in London, the screening of the award winning documentary “Garbage! The Revolution starts at home”. lt was well attended by many students from local and area high schools. We filled 3 theatres and Mr. Stanford brought greetings from the Mayor and the City, in support of the film’s 3R’smessage! Also, we have currently underway a special pilot program, where Jim Graham at Try Recycling is testing his ability to commercially compost our coffee cups. We have sent Jim coffee cups we have collected in our Toronto program where we have over 125 locations now, recycling our cups. (see attachment) Jim is hopeful that he can offer us the ongoing service of processing our cups as compost, and thus avoiding landfill. Once we get the green light, we will roll out our next generation, waste diversion system to all of our London stores.

Also, you will see in the near future our in-store program that promotes our message “Go Green Grab a Handle”. . . . Use a ceramic mug while in-store, or any travel mug and save a dime with each fill. (see attachment)

Let me conclude by saying that we applaud the efforts of city staff and the general direction this report has taken. There is a lot of information presented in the report that we are still digesting and considering.

Tim Hortons will continue to work with the city in the various ways I have indicated and will contribute in a meaningful way, but only if we “can make a true difference”. This is our corporate social responsibility approach, that has served us well.


Nick Javor

Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs


cc: Mr. Jay Stanford, Director of Environmental Programs and Solid Waste

Ms. Linda Rowe, Acting City Clerk

Ms. Heather Lysyniski, ETC Secretary

Tim Hortons London Franchisees

“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

Ludlow Says ‘No’ to Drive-Thru Window

Ludlow Says ‘No’ to Fast Food, Drive-Thru

Ludlow, Vermont – July 8, 2009

Voters in Ludlow said ‘No’ to a proposal that would have allowed a new fast food restaurant in town.

The vote was 421-360 against changing the town’s zoning bylaw to allow a building with two or more uses to operate a drive-thru window. Champlain Oil wanted but build a new facility with gas pumps and a convenience store/fast food restaurant combo on Route 103.


Yes – Our Teenagers ARE being Poisoned at Drive-thru Windows …

It would be nice to see some of the studies showing the levels the teenagers are exposed to – if anyone finds them – please send them our way – thanks! – admins.

Beta Test Finds Air Curtain Reduces Drive-Thru Window Fumes

Jul 7, 2009 11:03 AM

A recent beta test of an air curtain specially designed for restaurant drive-thru windows has proven to protect teenage workers from extreme temperature exposures and continual vehicle emissions inhalation, the latter which is a growing concern at the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA)—U.S. Department of Labor.

Headache, fatigue, flu-like effects, heart problems and other symptoms related to carbon monoxide poisoning are a concern at all quick serve restaurants (QSR) according to OSHA. The escalating trend of drive-thru transactions, which the National Restaurant Association (NRA) lists as more than half of QSR industry business today (among QSR’s with drive-thru windows), is elevating the potential hazard. Combined with the continual uncomfortable environmental temperature differentials, vehicle emissions inhalation could possibly be a contributor to the restaurant industry’s unusually high average of 145% employee turnover.

The six-month-long beta test at Arby’s store #5775, Struthers, OH, by Berner International, New Castle, PA, tested the manufacturer’s new Drive-Thru Unit (DTU) air curtain against external environmental conditions at a drive-thru window station. Specially-designed, with the proper air velocity, volume, and uniformity necessary for drive-thru window opening dimensions, the 18-in. long DTU strategically discharges air from top to bottom of the drive-thru window to maintain the all-important “split” of indoor/outdoor environments a few inches outside the threshold. The air discharge is strong enough to stop infiltrating outdoor air, vehicle emissions and insects, but doesn’t blow money out of hands penetrating the airstream.

“Fumes infiltrating the restaurant were all but eliminated and drive-thru employees were able to wear normal indoor uniforms instead of heavy coats and gloves during wintertime operations,” says Vicki Vitullo, general manager of beta test Arby’s store, one of nine Arby’s franchises owned by Niles Restaurant Business, Youngstown, OH. “If for some reason we forget to switch the air curtain on, fumes and cold weather are definitely noticeable," Vitullo says.