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.

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