As Canadians, each of us is responsible for approx. 19 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (virtually matching our U.S. counterparts at about 20 tonnes/year), while individuals in China are responsible for approx. 4-5 tonnes of emissions per year. This makes Canada one of the top polluters on the planet, which certainly doesn’t fit in with the concept that we are a highly developed, enlightened and progressive nation. Furthermore, due to melting of Arctic sea ice we are now witnessing methane being released from the permafrost into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas which is far more damaging to the stability of the climate than CO2. Up to 50 billion tons of methane, 10 times more than is currently found in earth’s atmosphere, could be released in a complete arctic thaw. Many climate models suggest that a majority of the Arctic’s permafrost could be thawed by the end of this century, perhaps much sooner as Arctic Ocean ice thickness has declined 53 percent since 1980. Most climate models failed to consider the additional warming effects of permafrost methane. What is now happening at an ever accelerating speed is one of the biggest changes in environmental conditions on Earth since the end of the ice age.

For our children, for future generations, for the many millions of species that we share this planet with, it is past time for elected leaders take strong, swift action on climate change. We are in a crisis of epic and historical proportions as our last chance to preserve life on Earth slips away.Tcktcktck …

Comox Valley Record

Drive-thru debate hot in Comox

By Colleen Dane – Comox Valley Record

Published: September 17, 2009 6:00 PM

While local Tim Hortons owners and corporate representatives had their say this week over a possible drive-thru ban in Comox, the public will have theirs at a public hearing next month.

Comox council moved first and second reading of a zoning amendment that would prohibit future drive-thrus from being approved within the town limits.

“I think that this is a conversation that the community wants to have,” said Coun. Ray Crossley, about sending the proposal to public hearing for feedback.

The decision came after some heavily worded debate amongst council and presentations from Tim Hortons representatives.

“The effort on the part of some to ban drive-thrus is part of an anti-car culture,” said Nick Javor, senior vice-president of corporate affairs for the company, who flew in from headquarters in Ontario to present this week.

“We believe there is a better solution than a blanket ban on drive-thrus,” he said.

Colin Welburn, an engineer with RWDI Consulting who studied emissions caused by drive-thrus for Tim Hortons, presented the findings of their investigation.

“If you ban a drive-thru, you’re going to increase emissions,” said Welburn about their conclusion, which was peer reviewed by a professor at Carleton University.

Their conclusion centres around the increased parking that’s required to accommodate people who would normally drive through for service.

Local Tim Hortons franchise owner John Brocklehurst updated council on some of the environmental initiatives they’ve undertaken — from further promotion of reusable cups, to a brand-new recycling bin that’s been installed.

He also talked about how they’ve tried to ease congestion in the Comox Tim Hortons parking lot, which is shared by McDonald’s.

“I know that our location has been a bit of a lightning rod for this issue — and I just want to say that nobody cares about this more than we do,” said Brocklehurst.

Existing drive-thrus will not be impacted by this proposed bylaw change.

The potential prohibition on any further drive-thrus was brought up after a development was approved for the new Shoppers Drug Mart property on Anderton and Guthrie. That project includes two potential drive-thrus — one for a coffee shop and another for a bank.

Some councillors felt that prohibiting any more would be a good step in lowering the town’s greenhouse gas emissions, as well as encouraging a more bike-oriented, community-centered area.

Others, however, feel it’s an unnecessary change that’s being brought forward at a poor time — just before the town begins a review of its Official Community Plan.

“I think it’s totally irrelevant — and I just can’t even imaging after the report that we heard that you can even go ahead with this,” said Coun. Ken Grant.

Coun. Tom Grant made it more personal, pointing to the greenhouse gas emissions related to Crossley’s business of owning a shuttle company, and Coun. Marcia Turner’s work on BC Ferries.

He also challenged where the proposed ban was stemming from.

“I’m concerned that big labour from Ontario is infiltrating our town and using this council as stooges … I’m quite ashamed about it actually,” said Grant.

Coun. Russ Arnott pointed to the fact that it was actually corporations that were represented in the room — and that in the end it’s about balancing both stories.

“Ultimately, we’re hearing sides of the story and it’s up to us to listen to them all,” he said.

The next side they want to hear is that of the general public. With first and second reading approved by Arnott, Crossley, Coun. Patti Fletcher and Turner, despite opposition from K. Grant, T. Grant and Mayor Paul Ives, a public hearing date was set.

The hearing will be held Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at d’Esterre House.



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