It Finally Happened | Drive-thru ban motors through in Canada

A Great Example of a Handful of Progressive Politicians with Courage – It Is Leaders Like These That Will Help With an Urgently Needed Sea Change in Government …

Drive-thru ban motors through

Comox Valley Record

By Colleen Dane – Comox Valley Record

Published: October 22, 2009 6:00 PM

Accusations of bloc voting to force an agenda and of being controlled by business were lobbed between Comox councillors Wednesday night, before a vote was passed limiting the future of drive-thrus in their town.

“I just wish you would let us know what it (your agenda) is so we know what’s coming,” said Coun. Ken Grant, criticizing councillors speaking in favour of banning future drive-thrus in the town.

“If we disregard all these people … this is clearly no reason for public process anymore,” he said, referring to a petition with over 4,000 signatures opposing the proposed ban.

“Very well said, Coun. Ken Grant. Hopefully you wrote that all yourself,” responded Coun. Russ Arnott, arguing that they had in fact weighed the information and were making a fair decision.

“I will put my reputation on the line — that I looked at this thing in and out and I am confident,” he said.

It was the culmination in what has been a passionate discussion for council and the community. Following an approved application in April for two new drive-thru businesses at the corner of Anderton and Guthrie, some councillors proposed prohibiting any more in the town.

Over the past six months, council has sought legal advice about one accusation of conflict of interest on the issue, heard presentations from industry representatives, collected feedback from other communities who have implemented similar policies, debated the issue and heard from the public informally and at a public hearing.

The proposal was hailed as an environmentally friendly initiative by those supporting it at the council table.

“I believe this is the right thing — it is a small thing, but we know there is a ripple effect,” said Coun. Patti Fletcher about the actions of council.

For those opposed, it was a waste of time that would send an unwelcoming message to business.

“They’re (business) not going to change their model because we’ve changed our bylaws — they’re going to change their location,” said Coun. Tom Grant.

The debate Wednesday became one about the most legitimate means of public feedback. Those in favour said having the majority of speakers at the public hearing speak in support of the ban showed the community’s true opinion. Those against said newspaper polls, and the petition (with around 2,500 Comox residents signing) were the truest measure.

“I’m just baffled … I mean, do you always have conversations when you only hear what you want to hear?” said Tom Grant.

The one thing they all agreed on was that the debate would make little tangible difference in the town. All existing drive-thrus can continue operating, and the two new ones can still be built. Councillors had agreed that a ban on drive-thrus in the downtown core would be appropriate — leaving only one property that realistically had a chance for a drive-thru affected by the change.

It was the productivity of the debate that raised Mayor Paul Ives concerns.

“I’m concerned that we perhaps have strayed a little bit from our strategic plan objectives,” said Ives, saying they need to prioritize other projects.

In the 4-3 vote, council approved the rezoning to prohibit future drive-thrus. In favour were Arnott, Coun. Ray Crossley, Fletcher and Coun. Marcia Turner. Ives joined the Grants in opposition.

"I myself was terrified when I saw these numbers."

October 2009,Hans Joachim Schellnhuber – One of the world’s half-dozen most eminent climate scientists.

He urges governments to agree in Copenhagen to launch "a Green Apollo Project." Like John Kennedy’s pledge to land a man on the moon in ten years, a global Green Apollo Project would aim to put leading economies on a trajectory of zero carbon emissions within ten years. Combined with carbon trading with low-emissions countries, Schellnhuber says, such a "wartime mobilization" might still save us from the worst impacts of climate change.

UK Government ‘misleading’ public on air pollution | Innovative ideas like low-emission zones need to be backed up by more effective regulation


How about ZERO emission zones?

Innovative ideas like low-emission zones need to be backed up by more effective regulation, says the report



The report calls for stronger regulation:

‘The penalties imposed for operators’ breaching permits are minor in comparison to corporate profits,’ it said.

It adds that the public should be made more aware of the problem by the viewing air pollution offences as eco-crimes.

‘At present, corporations are seen as partners who exceed air pollution levels, rather than eco-criminals,’ it said.

UK Government ‘misleading’ public on air pollution


2nd September, 2009

UK ranked amongst the worst polluters in Europe for airborne particles and nitrogen dioxide

Defra has come in for damning criticism for failing to tackle air pollution in a report published by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS).

The UK has repeatedly failed to meet EU air pollution targets over past decade, according to the report. This is despite the estimated 24,000 people who die prematurely every year in Britain because of air pollution.

Earlier this year the EU lost patience and began taking legal action against UK for repeatedly breaching pollution levels.

This follows a previous EU action against UK in 2007 for exceeding sulphur dioxide limits – an pollutant that can cause respiratory problems and aggravate cardiovascular disease.

Polluted cities

According to the CCJS report, Crime is in the air: air pollution and regulation in the UK, more than 20 towns and cities have been found to be emitting pollution at twice the level specified in WHO standards.

‘It is estimated that twice as many people today suffer from lung disease and asthmatic conditions caused by air pollution than they did 20 years ago,’ said the report.

Defra criticism

The report criticises Defra, the department responsible for publishing air quality statistics, for both underestimating the health dangers of air pollution and trying to ‘manipulate’ statistics.

‘There is an unhelpful and misleading language that underestimates the seriousness of exposure to air pollution: for example, comments such as ‘long-term exposure to even low levels of particulates (PM10) may have a significant may have a significant may effect on public health’.

‘There is no ‘may’ about it. The use of this defensive terminology serves to neutralise criticism of bland and unflattering government statistics,’ said the report.

It also criticised Defra for releasing its January 2009 update on air quality the same day as the EU Commission announced its intention to act against the UK for failing to tackle air pollution levels.


The report calls for stronger regulation:
‘The penalties imposed for operators’ breaching permits are minor in comparison to corporate profits,’ it said.

It adds that the public should be made more aware of the problem by the viewing air pollution offences as eco-crimes.

At present, corporations are seen as partners who exceed air pollution levels, rather than eco-criminals,’ it said.

What’s in our air?

Sulphur dioxide Created through the combustion of fossil fuels that contain sulphur compounds. Can contribute to various lung conditions even at moderate levels of concentration
Toxic organic micropollutants (TOMPS) Very dangerous compounds emitted from smokestacks and vehicles. Carcinogenic chemicals such as dioxins, furans, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls in small amounts are highly deleterious to humans and animals, and have been linked to cancer, lung disease, immune deficiency and cerebral dysfunction in young children
Fine particles Dusts, sulphates and nitrates from sources such as road traffic and atmospheric reactions. Fine particles can be carcinogenic and are able to pass through the lungs into the bloodstream, causing inflammation as well as more serious conditions
Butadiene A chemical released in the atmosphere by burning rubber and synthetics, and the emissions from petrol and diesel operated machinery. Butiadiene is thought to be responsible for a range of human health problems including birth defects, organ damage and reproductive disorders

Carbon monoxide
A poisonous gas produced by petrol engines. Damages respiratory and circulatory body functions. Reduces oxygen supply to major organs including the heart

Lead and heavy metals
Industrial areas emitting smoke and vapour waste create extremely dangerous lead compounds that can damage the neural and organ development of infants and young children as well as cause foetal deformities. This form of highly dangerous industrial pollution has also been linked to mental, neurological and visual problems
Ozone and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) VOCs react with sunlight and nitrous oxide to create vapour that is capable of travelling thousands of miles. It causes damage to the natural environment as well as having the potential to exacerbate human health conditions such as asthma and lung disease
Nitrous oxides Found in vehicle and smokestack exhaust. Nitrous oxides compromise lung functions and can cause respiratory and viral illness, notably in children

This list is adapted from the UK’s National Air Quality Archive

Useful links

Crime is in the air: air pollution and regulation in the UK
Campaign for Clean Air in London

See also
Air pollution reduces rainfall in China

Cyclists and pedestrians: how to avoid traffic pollution

Cyclists and pedestrians: how to avoid traffic pollution


13th October, 2009

New research on the distribution of air pollution has found that existing government monitoring may be inadequate

We could avoid breathing in dangerous polluting toxins like carbon monoxide by choosing where we walk and cycle more carefully, say researchers.

Researchers from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Leeds studied carbon monoxide levels over an eight week period at one of the busiest junctions in the UK – the intersection between Marylebone Road and Gloucester Place in West London.

Their findings, published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, found that air pollution levels change dramatically within small geographical areas like cities due to wind patterns, location of traffic queues and the architecture of surrounding buildings.

Pollution hotspots

They found that pollution hotspots tend to accumulate on the sheltered, leeward side of the street and that carbon monoxide levels were up to four times lower in parallel side streets compared to the main road.

As such, pedestrians and cyclists could reduce their exposure to traffic pollution by simply crossing the street or changing their route slightly.

Air monitoring

Researchers said local authorities and other bodies monitoring air quality levels in urban areas may now need to re-think how and where they collect data.

‘Monitoring stations tend to be sited in what are expected to be pollution hotspots, but our research has shown that hotspots move depending on meteorological conditions, particularly wind direction,’ said lead author Professor Alison Tomlin.

‘We need to develop models which take these factors into account, so that the data from monitoring sites can be accurately analysed to provide a true reflection of air quality across the whole of an urban area.’

See also

Users Comments

Re: Cyclists and pedestrians: how to avoid traffic pollution
Posted By conquistador 1 October 16, 2009 01:26:43 AM

To avoid this inconvenience, the governments should build more ways with planted trees for pedestrian and cyclists, stop one or two days a week the circulation of vehicles, and copy the example of the Sao Paulo, Brazil were they are starting to use Public Transportation Buses powered by Hydrogen – What will be the cost for this solution? More clean air.

Re: Cyclists and pedestrians: how to avoid traffic pollution
Posted By moralman 1 October 16, 2009 08:01:20 AM

In addition to conquistador’s suggestions, traffic needs to be kept out of the centres of urban areas by increasing the extent of pedestrian zones. The only motorised vehicles allowed should be electric ones. Saas Fee in Switzerland has been like this for years.

The recession has had little impact on humanity’s over-consumption of resources

Recession barely dents ‘eco-debt’

By Judith Burns
Science and environment reporter, BBC News


The recession has had little impact on humanity’s over-consumption of resources, says a report.

The New Economics Foundation (Nef) calculates the day each year when the world goes into "ecological debt."

This is the date by which humanity has used the quantity of natural resources that ought to last an entire year if used at a sustainable rate.

This year, "ecological debt day" falls on 25 September – just one day later than in 2008.

According to Nef, this means that the biggest recession for nearly a century has made very little difference to global consumption.

The report, entitled The Consumption Explosion: the Third UK Interpendence Day Report, asserts that the overall trend of our collective ecological footprint is deeply negative, with humanity still environmentally over-extending itself to a dangerous degree.


Andrew Simms, Nef policy director and co-author of the report, said: "Debt-fuelled over-consumption not only brought the financial system to the edge of collapse, it is pushing many of our natural life support systems toward a precipice.

"Politicians tell us to get back to business as usual; but if we bankrupt critical ecosystems, no amount of government spending will bring them back.

"We need a radically different approach to rich world consumption."

Calling for an end to the consumption explosion, he said that while billions in poorer countries subsist, "we (in the rich West) consume vastly more, and yet with little or nothing to show for it in terms of greater life satisfaction."

The report calls for an end in particular to what it calls "boomerang trade", where countries simultaneously import and export similar goods.

For example, the report says the UK imports 22,000 tonnes of potatoes from Egypt and exports 27,000 tonnes back the other way.

While 5,000 tonnes of toilet paper heads to Germany from the UK, more than 4,000 tonnes is imported back.

The report calls for us to pay the full environmental cost of transport, and calls for more investment in renewable energy.

It also rejects suggestions that reducing the size of the Earth’s human population would help the environment, claiming this focus is a critical distraction from tackling over-consumption in wealthy countries.

It points out that one person in the US will, by 4am on the morning of 2 January, already have been responsible for emitting as much carbon as someone living in Tanzania would generate in an entire year.

It says that a UK citizen would reach the same position by 7pm on 4 January.

Nef used figures from the Global Footprint Network to make its calculations.

Four Degrees of Devastation | VIDEO | Climate Change Denialism

CLIMATE CHANGE: Four Degrees of Devastation
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Oct 9 (IPS) – The prospect of a four-degree Celsius rise in global average temperatures in 50 years is alarming – but not alarmist, climate scientists now believe.

October 9, 2009

Four degrees of warming would be hotter than any time in the last 30 million years, and it could happen as soon as 2060 to 2070

By Stephen Leahy
Interpress Service, October 9, 2009

The prospect of a four-degree Celsius rise in global average temperatures in 50 years is alarming – but not alarmist, climate scientists now believe.

Eighteen months ago, no one dared imagine humanity pushing the climate beyond an additional two degrees C of heating, but rising carbon emissions and inability to agree on cuts has meant science must now consider the previously unthinkable.

“Two degrees C is already gone as a target,” said Chris West of the University of Oxford’s UK Climate Impacts Programme.

“Four degrees C is definitely possible…This is the biggest challenge in our history,” West told participants at the “4 Degrees and Beyond, International Climate Science Conference” at the University of Oxford last week.

A four-degree C overall increase means a world where temperatures will be two degrees warmer in some places, 12 degrees and more in others, making them uninhabitable.

It is a world with a one- to two-metre sea level rise by 2100, leaving hundreds of millions homeless. This will head to 12 metres in the coming centuries as the Greenland and Western Antarctic ice sheets melt, according to papers presented at the conference in Oxford.

Four degrees of warming would be hotter than any time in the last 30 million years, and it could happen as soon as 2060 to 2070.

“Political reality must be grounded in physical reality or it’s completely useless,” John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told the conference.

Schellnhuber recently briefed U.S. officials from the Barack Obama administration, but he says they chided him that his findings were “not grounded in political reality” and that “the [U.S.] Senate will never agree to this”.

He had told them that the U.S. must reduce its emissions from its current 20 tonnes of carbon per person average to zero tonnes per person by 2020 to have an even chance of stabilising the climate around two degrees C.

China’s emissions must peak by 2020 and then go to zero by 2035 based on the current science, he added.

“Policymakers who agreed to a two-degree C goal at the G20 summit easily fool themselves about what emission cuts are needed,” Schellnhuber said.

Even with a two-degree rise, most of the world’s coral reefs will be lost, large portions of the ocean will become dead zones, mountain glaciers will largely vanish and many other ecosystems will be at risk, Schellnhuber warned. And there is the risk of reaching a tipping point where the warming rapidly accelerates.

The planet has already warmed 0.74 C over the past century and the warming is now increasing at a rate of 0.16 C per decade, according the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report.

With 2008 emissions at the very top end of the IPCC’s worst case estimates, it is time to look at what that may mean for the planet, said Richard Betts of the Climate Impacts research team at the Met Office Hadley Centre in London.

Continuing on the current high emissions path means average global temperatures would increase by 4.0 to 5.6 degrees by 2090. Brazil, much of Canada, parts of the U.S., Siberia and Central Europe would be eight degrees warmer than in the past 50 years, computer models show. Rainfall in the north will increase but wet tropics will become 20 percent drier.

The models are based on human emissions alone, and do not include heat-amplifying feedbacks from melting ice or changes in carbon sinks. When those are factored in, it moves the timetable forward so that “reaching four degrees by 2060 is a plausible, worst-case scenario” with the median being 2070. By 2100, 5.5 degrees is possible, he said.

Few places would experience the global average temperature, Betts cautioned, noting that the computer models show the Arctic warming 15 degrees while many other regions of the world would experience 10 degrees of additional warming.

These scenarios do not include potential tipping points like the release of the 1.5 trillion tonnes of carbon in northern permafrost or the melting of undersea methane hydrates.

What would the world look like when it is four degrees warmer? It will likely mean one to two billion people will not have access to adequate fresh water because of the major shift in rainfall patterns, said Nigel Arnell, director of the Walker Institute for Climate Systems Research at the University of Reading in Britain.

Up to 15 percent of existing or potential cropland – and 40 percent in Africa – will become too dry and too hot for food production. While there might be some gains in northern areas like Canada and Russia, generally the soils there are not suitable for crops, he said.

Flooding will affect at least 500 million people because sea levels will rise more than one metre by 2100. The somewhat contentious issue of future sea level rise has been resolved with a new computer model that almost perfectly matches the historical changes in sea level since 1880, reported oceanographer Stefan Rahmstorf at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The new model projects sea level rise by 1.2 to 1.9 metres from 1990 levels by 2100, said Rahmstorf.

“We’re expecting a really big sea level rise in the longer run,” he said.

Even at two or three degrees of warming, sea level will inevitably rise many metres higher in the centuries to come. The main questions are how fast levels will increase, and whether vulnerable countries like Holland can build seawalls fast enough to keep up with the rising water levels and the extraordinary costs involved, he said.

In a four-degree warmer world, adaptation means “put your feet up and die” for many people in the world, Oxford’s Chris West said bluntly. “In accepting the many alarming impacts, we see that it (a four-degree C increase) is not acceptable.”

The climate negotiators heading to Copenhagen in December must accept the fact that the world’s carbon emissions must eventually stop – and stop completely. There is no sustainable per capita carbon emission level because it is the total amount of carbon emitted that counts, explains Myles Allen of the Climate Dynamics group at University of Oxford’s Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department.

Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for many centuries, which makes it the most important greenhouse gas to reduce and eliminate. The current focus on CO2 concentrations like 450 ppm or 350 ppm is the not the right approach since it is the total cumulative emissions that determine how warm the planet will get, Allen told the conference.

If climate negotiators only look at slowing rates of carbon emissions, then natural gas will be substituted for coal because it has half of the carbon – but the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere will continue to increase.

“We didn’t save the ozone layer by rationing deodorants,” said Allen.

VIDEO | Climate change denialism | Clive Hamilton and Andrew Glikson

Part 1 | Part 2 (Andrew Glikson) | Part 3 (Questions)

At this event organised and hosted by Robert Manne, Clive Hamilton and Andrew Glikson discuss the politics and science of climate change denialism: where did it emerge from? Whose views does it represent? Is there a scientific basis to it? Professor Clive Hamilton is a public intellectual and author, a former director of the Australia Institute and now Professor of Public Ethics, CSU. Dr Andrew Glikson is an earth and paleoclimate scientist, a Visiting Fellow at ANU.

Presented by the Ideas and Society program, La Trobe University | Melbourne, September, 2009

Environmentalists, disabled, businesses clash over drive-thru ban

Environmentalists, disabled, businesses clash over drive-thrus

By Christiana Wiens, Comox Valley EchoOctober 8, 2009

The public and businesses have had their say. Now it’s up to seven-member Comox council to determine the fate of future drive-thru businesses in the town.

A public hearing on a bylaw to limit drive-thru restaurants in Comox to two corners of Anderton and Guthrie Roads was dominated by debates on the environmental impact of idling, disabled access and the effect on businesses Wednesday night.

In the end, the green vote – those in favour of the bylaw that limits future drive thrus – outnumbered businesses, employees and people who spoke against the bylaw by a ratio of 2 to 1.

Perhaps the most passionate plea for the drive-thrus came from the tearful mother of an autistic child who quieted the room with her plea.

She said her family sometimes used drive-thrus because the noise and stimulus in the parking lot and restaurant was too much for her daughter.

"I want you to consider what you are doing very seriously," she said. "Please do not limit my family’s abilities."

Two of the town’s mobility challenged residents said further restrictions were a step back in time.

That argument seemed to resonate with the crowd who suggested a small cache of solutions might be attainable – including special parking and pick up spots for disabled residents and allowing handicapped parking notices, already used in cars, to be required for drive-thru use.

Several prominent Comox residents, including former rural director Barbara Price and Comox’s first freeman Alice Bullen applauded council for their courage to move forward with the bylaw.

Bullen commended town planning staff and suggested Comox join Gibsons, Harrison Hot Springs and Qualicum Beach in resisting drive-thru restaurants.

Bill Anglin, a director of Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, spoke against it detailing the town’s decision-making process throughout the drive-thru debate.

He argued that the town had options of tabling the bylaw to its debate on the town’s master plan (the Official Community Plan) which begins in full next year.

Calling the bylaw "misguided and punitive," Anglin said idling made up one half of one per cent of the total emissions in a municipality.

That study was contrasted by data from the National Research Council on the effect of idling and CO2 emissions on climate change.

Throughout the meeting reference was made to not turning any street in Comox into the equivalent of Courtenay’s Cliffe Avenue.

Residents also argued not limiting drive-thrus was akin to banning recycling – every small action helped.

And long-time Comox resident Don Barber argued that the money spent locally by the Comox Valley Drive-Thru Coalition and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association would have been better spent promoting electric cars.

Tim Horton’s owner John Brocklehurst said the only way to curb long line-ups and reduce idling at the Comox location was to allow the restaurant to open a second location.

"If we’re not permitted to open another location the traffic will become worse," said Brocklehurst.

"Your words have been heard around the world. Let your actions now be seen. There is little time left. The opportunity and responsibility to avoid catastrophic climate change is in your hands."

Ban Ki-moon at the end of the Bangkok summit, which he convened in a bid to mobilize political will ahead of the Copenhagen meeting. October 8th, 2009

Drive-thru ban debating continues | Comments from Comox Public Participation Meeting

Comox Valley Record

Drive-thru debating continues

others also read…

Text image001 image002

By Erin Haluschak – Comox Valley Record

Published: October 08, 2009 6:00 PM
Updated: October 08, 2009 6:07 PM


With nearly a 2-1 margin favouring a proposed zoning amendment that would prohibit new drive-thus within Comox town limits, residents and business owners alike voiced their opinions Wednesday night at a public hearing for the bylaw.

The d’Esterre House was packed as a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 presented their thoughts on Comox zoning bylaw 1377, which has passed second reading through council. The bylaw proposes to prohibit drive-thru restaurants and services on all parcels of land that are subject to the bylaw with an exception of two parcels of land already approved for drive-thru use and existing drive-thrus.

Comox resident Marie Gordon began the two-hour hearing by noting how, if passed, a moratorium on drive-thrus would severely impact the physically challenged.

“The bylaw is going back to the dark ages. We have fought for a better quality of life, independence and safety … this is very insensitive towards the physically challenged,” she said.

Resident Angela Wood echoed Gordon’s views.

“I deal with challenges every day with a special-needs child. Being in a busy parking lot (without a drive-thru) is dangerous. I care about our planet, too, but we all have vehicles, and there’s things we can do co-operatively. Address the needs of all members of our community; I don’t want my daughter’s options taken away from her,” she noted.

Many of those who spoke for the bylaw addressed the environmental impact of drive-thrus.

“I’ve practised medicine in the Comox Valley for 25 years, and this represents the many ways the citizens of the world must adapt to changes, which makes us less susceptible to breathing problems, birth defects and more,” said resident Bill Halliday.

Wendy Prothero noted for every litre of gas utilized by an average car engine, 2.3 litres of carbon dioxide are released into the air.

“Drive-thrus are a luxury item we can live without,” she added.

Jill Peacock acknowledged the impact on the bigger environmental picture.

“This isn’t going to change the world, but we’re taking a small step — we have to start to do what we can when we can. To quote Ghandi, to want change, you have to be the change.”

One resident questioned more than just the green impact of drive-thrus.

“This is about more than just the environment — it’s about the esthetics of my community. I don’t want to live in Chilliwack or Abbotsford,” he said.

Bill Anglin, speaking on behalf of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, opposed the bylaw, saying Comox would be at a severe disadvantage for attracting new business to the town.

“There are some concerns. The lack of consultation denied valuable input. It is important to have a lot of research before policy change.”

Comox resident and Tim Horton’s employee Barbra Overton added people should be given the options of using drive-thrus, noting banning is not the solution.

“Cars are still idling at schools and construction sites. Are you in the future going to ban parents from picking up their children?”

Local Tim Horton’s franchise owner John Brocklehurst disagreed with the severity of the environmental impact, and said he agrees climate change is important, but the impact of drive-thrus is negligible.

“(The bylaw) is not so much against drive-thrus as it is against cars. Banning drive-thrus does not get cars off the road, but gets more into parking lots … which would take up more green space.”

Representatives from fast-food chain Triple O’s (owned by White Spot) and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association supported Brocklehurst’s position.

A decision by council on third reading of the bylaw should be made within the month.

If Collingwood is serious about idle-free status it should ban drive-throughs

If Collingwood is serious about idle-free status it should ban drive-throughs

Date: Sep 23, 2009

The expansion of the Collingwood’s anti-idling by-law is not complete until it includes a ban on drive-throughs. As a city, we proudly display our idle-free status on the sign on the road into town, yet, Ironically, one of the first things you see as you drive into town is a drive-thru coffee chain outlet without any parking to speak of, which usually has a line up of stationary, idling vehicles wrapped around the building.

Now that the anti-idling by-law has been expanded to include private property, and any of the (at least) six businesses with drive-throughs in operation within city limits are now within the jurisdiction of enforcement officers, it is now entirely possible that a driver could receive a ticket while waiting in a drive-through lineup. This is one way to discourage the use of the drive-through, but businesses and drivers may see this as unfair. This is why an outright ban makes sense; a ban would put all businesses on a level playing field, and force people to leave their vehicles, taking care of the pollution issue.

If the spat between the city and Collingwood Ethanol, (now the green-washed ‘A-maize-ingly Green’) is any indication of our strength in putting public health first, (while also respecting business interests) I am certain that we can come to mutually beneficial arrangements with other companies as well.

No fast food restaurant or big bank will go bankrupt without a drive- through, let’s get rid of them and make Collingwood a true idle-free community.

Nicholas Clayton


Yes, we’re anti-car | Comox drive-thru ban

Yes, we’re anti-car

Comox Valley Echo October 5, 2009

The "Drive-Thru" people have really gone too far this time. Who do they think they are? Much as they would like to think so, they do not have a God given right to erect drive-thrus wherever they please. They do so at the discretion of the local councils who, presumably, are following the will of their electorates.

In the latest full page ad the Pro Drive-Thru folks continue their campaign of intimidation and misinformation.

The first line of the ad says "Most people don’t want a ban" Says who? If you’re going to make a statement like that you are obliged to back it up with statistics. In my unofficial survey, I have found no-one in favour of maintaining unlimited drive-thrus. The second line of the ad says "Drive-thrus are important to seniors …" How condescending! I am a senior and I have no intention of ever using a drive-thru. I am a frequent patron of the Guthrie/Anderton Tim Hortons and, on most days, the seating area is filled mostly with seniors. They have taken the time to park and sit down with friends to enjoy a coffee and some Tim Bits. By and large, the drive-thru seems to be utilized by young, healthy people who are, one would surmise, too rushed or too lazy to follow suit.

Drive-thrus are a blight on the landscape and if you need any proof just drive down the main street of Parksville or Nanaimo. Is that what we want Comox to look like? Of course not. Some time back a senior VP of Tim Hortons cried that a ban on drive-thrus is "anti car". That was meant as a complaint but, in reality, he unwittingly spoke the truth. Of course it’s anti-car. That’s what this is all about. The citizens of Comox want to see the diminishing of the auto’s impact on our town. What we want is a townscape centered on people and people-powered transportation.

And lastly, who is behind this expensive, lengthy attempt to defeat our motion? The truth lies in the website listed at the bottom of the ad; Check it out. It is funded by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. So here we have an industry association who don’t like being told that they can’t practise their business wherever they want. Well, I for one, thinks it’s high time they we showed these high-priced lobbyists the door and took our town back.

Please join me on October 7 and help this motion to pass.

Andrew Clarke


Sides prepare ammunition for drive-thru public hearing | COMOX DRIVE-THRU BAN

4-Degree Warming Likely Without Cuts:

Sides prepare ammunition for drive-thru public hearing

By Christiana Wiens, Comox Valley EchoOctober 5, 2009

A public hearing on the future of drive-thru restaurants in Comox is heating up with two petitions expected to come before council.

The meeting – set for the d’Esterre House at 7 p.m. Wednesday – will see the Comox Drive-Thru Restaurant Coalition present at least 2,500 signed notes to town council.

Another smaller petition will be presented by neighbours living in the subdivision behind a proposed commercial development at McDonald and Guthrie Road, where the developer is making room for at least two drive-thru spots.

Tim Hortons is also bringing in their management from Ontario to listen in on the presentations – although they are not expected to speak.

"Public awareness is pretty much all we can do at this point," said owner John Brocklehurst.

The wording of the petition, "Let’s allow drive thrus. Vote against the ban," is already being contested by at least one councillor.

"We want to put a cap or a moratorium that limits drive thrus to the restaurants we already have," said councillor Russ Arnott.

He says he wonders whether staff being asked to wear the blue T-shirts are being pressured into wearing them.

"I went to one of the drive-thrus and asked the person in the blue T-Shirt ‘so what do you think of drive-thrus?’ and they said ‘I think people should get out of their cars,’" said Arnott. "I’m just wondering if these people are allowed to express their opinion or not?"

Arnott said drive-thrus are like today’s cigarettes – one day people will marvel at the marketing campaign around them that makes them seem acceptable.

Meanwhile councillor Tom Grant is still shaking his head.

"I can tell you that I’ve spoken to dozens and dozens of people and everyone’s talking about how foolish this is," said Grant.

He says the issue didn’t come from the community but rather, was a made-in-council resolution.

"This was purely manufactured by council members," Grant said.

He is hoping a lot of people do show up at the d’Esterre House Wednesday.

"Council can ignore 800 to 1,000 names on a petition, but they do so at their peril," he said.

Meanwhile, residents near Guthrie and McDonald are polling their neighbourhood against drive-thrus restaurants saying a proposed commercial development will bring more traffic into the neighbourhood, drop property values and make their neighbourhood ugly.

"Everybody is in favour of capping drive thrus as they exist today, said Larrie Szafron. "If they want to put in drive-thrus they’re in for a tooth-and-nail type of fight."

As heated as the lead-up to the public hearing has been over the past months, town administrator Richard Kanigan said the file at town hall was relatively quiet as of Monday.

"We haven’t seen an extraordinary number of submissions come in," said Kanigan.

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service