City council will continue to idle on the creation and implementation of an anti-idling bylaw in Nelson, despite a strong case for bringing it forward by one city councillor.

Leslie Payne’s notice of motion that city council direct staff to bring forward an anti-idling bylaw at the earliest possible timeframe, “understanding the urgency of our shared responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” was defeated in council on April 11.

In her motion, Payne wrote that the issue needed to be placed on the front burner because of the severity of the situation.

“Whereas it has been recognized at all levels of government that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a critical priority for maintaining the health and well-being for all beings,” the motion read. “And whereas transportation has been identified as one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in our area.”

But the city’s climate team is currently completing its final consultation on climate considerations — including anti-idling — and will bring a proposed implementation plan back to city council in advance of the upcoming strategic priority sessions, said City manager Kevin Cormack.

Coun. Jesse Woodward said the six-person team working on implementing the Nelson Next plan will surely include anti-idling in its recommendations.

“I kind of feel that instead of trying to jump this to the front and have staff scrambling to do something, why not let the climate and energy team work through the process, work through the document which was created to guide them … and this will come,” he said. “I have confidence in this team that this will make it here and it will work for us.”

Mayor Janice Morrison agreed with Woodward, and said there was no need to double up the workload if, ultimately, the bylaw is going to come later, not sooner.

“I mean, this is going to get done as part of the Nelson Next implementation but there is this problem moving forward that if we are what is in the bylaw, we are putting it at the top of the pile, instead of sort of letting it flow out,” she said.

The anti-idling issue is already in the priority tactics for council’s strategic planning sessions, Morrison stated. As well, she has had discussions with a number of climate activists within the community.

“Some really wanted to see this come forward. Others had brought this forward in the past and have said ‘No, we have some other priorities because we see that this isn’t a top priority,” she said.

Payne said that, as part of the Province’s Clean BC Plan, it has been recommended that communities implement an anti-idling bylaw to reduce emissions.

In addition, Nelson Next  — a new vision for addressing climate change — had identified the implementation and enforcement of an anti-idling bylaw in the City of Nelson as a priority tactic.

Giving notice

The notice of motion concept as it relates to city council meetings is such that council votes on whether it wants to action the item in question at some point, referring it to a future business meeting if it passes. 

City staff would then have to bring something forward to council for them to discuss.

By Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 14, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   The Nelson Daily   Nelson, British Columbia
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