Idling a no-no in Olds

The Town of Olds is looking at ways to stop people from leaving their vehicles idling for extended periods.

The Town of Olds is looking at ways to stop people from leaving their vehicles idling for extended periods.

Olds Mayor Judy Dahl said the town is exploring some sort of anti-idling bylaw after receiving complaints about vehicles left idling for more than half an hour in the downtown, in parking lots and outside town offices.

“We’re not out there to hurt the values of any person. However, we are out there to continue to strive to have sustainable living in the Town of Olds,” she said.

In 2008, town council passed the Olds strategic sustainability plan, which encourages responsible growth, healthy-living and environmentally friendly choices. As part of the plan, the town has become Alberta’s first fair trade town, which is determined by the number of retailers selling fair trade products.

Dahl said the anti-idling bylaw could fall under the plan for responsible growth under transportation.

“Our vision for the Town of Olds is to be a sustainable community and the environment is part of one of our strategic areas. So the best thing for us is to educate first and go out and talk to people and explain to them the effects of what idling does and let them know that the administration and council are looking at preventive measures in the near future,” Dahl said.

She said town councillors don’t have plans set up a bylaw to fine people who leave their vehicles idling, but will likely start with some sort of signage warning people of no idling zones. She said she thinks it will take some education to change how people think, but she said she thinks it is possible to eventually bring everyone on board.

“People are not aware of anything until they are told, until they are asked to comply, until they are shown what they effects are,” Dahl said.

Earlier this year, the City of Red Deer and the Town of Sylvan Lake both launched anti-idling policies that encourage municipal employees not to allow municipal vehicles to idle for more than five minutes. The policy affects the estimated 450 vehicles in the City of Red Deer’s fleet. Different rules apply to diesel vehicles when temperatures drop substantially.

Natural Resources Canada estimates that if 100 drivers of light-duty vehicles avoided idling for five minutes a day, fuel consumption would be cut by almost 4,700 litres and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 11,333 kg per year.

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