Editorial

Support the Anti-Idling By-Law

The proposed anti-idling by-law needs your support at the May 10 public consultation.

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 30, 2007

It's far past time for Hamilton to enact the proposed idling control by-law that has been kicking around for over a year and a half.

Idling vehicles (RTH file photo)
Idling vehicles (RTH file photo)

First proposed in 2005, the by-law was defeated in early 2006 by the previous council in favour of a less-costly public education program that inexplicably failed to reduce idling.

Incoming Mayor Fred Eisenberger promised to revive the by-law, but his efforts have been mired in procedural delays by a tiny group of councillors who oppose it dogmatically.

Councillors Lloyd Ferguson (Ancaster), Dave Mitchell (Glanbrook) and Maria Pearson (Stoney Creek) have actively opposed the by-law since its introduction, attempting at each step to stall and delay it by whatever means they can.

First, in January Mitchell and Ferguson insisted that the agricultural and rural affairs committee, on which they both sit, also review the by-law.

After five weeks and an amendment to except farm vehicles, Mitchell and Pearson then insisted on additional public input before voting. Before that could take place, city staff had to decide how to gather such input.

Once that was settled, Councillor Brian McHattie, a strong supporter of the by-law, moved to hold a special committee of the whole meeting "to receive input from stakesholders and the public on the draft anti-idling by-law".

Incredibly, Ferguson, Mitchell and Pearson voted to oppose the meeting they themselves had insisted on holding before the by-law came to a vote.

This led Mayor Eisenberger to complain that some councillors are "thwarting the process" of trying to vote on the by-law.

The public committee of the whole meeting will take place in Council Chambers on Thursday, May 10 at 6:00 PM. If at all possible, please register to make a public delegation in defence of this by-law.

If you cannot attend in person, you can still submit your comments in writing, but it is more effective to present in person.

Alternately, you could argue, along with Councillor Pearson, that the anti-idling education campaign failed because it did not include signs at entrances to the city (presumably the only people still idling are those who commute from elsewhere).

As CATCH reported:

"I think there's a lot more that can be done as an education process," [Pearson] argued. "Also I think we should publicize that we are an idle-free community to everybody coming into Hamilton."

Of course, if Pearson and her obstructionist cohorts get their way, Hamilton won't be an idle-free community.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Several of his essays have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. Ryan also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on twitter.

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By trey (registered) | Posted May 01, 2007 at 10:04:43

Nice review of the events.

Regarding the signs at the entrance of the city. I'm assuming Pearson wasn't aware that Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga and Toronto all have anti-idling bylaws. There would be no reason for those drivers to assume Hamilton wasn't 'idle-free'. The truth is the signs should be saying, "It's okay to idle in Hamilton but not in the city you're coming from".

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By here (anonymous) | Posted May 04, 2007 at 00:34:46

Until this issue came up in council, I assumed that Hamilton like any other sensible place had an anti-idling by-law. I guess my assumption of sensible and Hamilton in the same sentence was misplaced. Pearson's demand for an educational campaign is absurd -- if you idle the police/by-law enforcement can educate you and if you are beyond help fine you.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 04, 2007 at 11:28:22

''I guess my assumption of sensible and Hamilton in the same sentence was misplaced.'' Amen to that!

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By oreoturtle (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2007 at 15:32:56

If Pearson has such an issue with there being no signs as drivers come in to Hamilton, then why doesn't the City erect those signs?

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By trey (registered) | Posted May 07, 2007 at 09:48:39

Why wouldn't the city erect those signs?

Ask Pearon what exactly those signs would say? We don't have a bylaw, we don't have any awareness, we don't have any education or enforcement. So the signs would have to say "Hamilton doesn't care, go ahead, idle you face off".

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2007 at 00:04:19

Looks like we're headed in the right direction after tonight's Committee meeting. It is quite frightening that we have had two smog advisory warnings all ready this spring. Something must be done and the City can lead by example!

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