Tag Archives: idling bylaws

Idle comments

Here is the first of several articles published recently in the December issue of the Mud Creek News. We are happy to give these comments a wider audience since the editors can only afford to print a certain number of copies, and often these disappear from the Post Office very quickly indeed.


David A. Daniels

At the November 15th Council meeting, Council approved for first reading an anti-idling law.  The key provision of the law provides that “No person shall cause or permit a vehicle to idle more than three consecutive minutes in a sixty minute period.”

Among the exemptions are: idling where the engine is required to provide for heat or cooling; or defogging or de-icing the windshield and no reasonable alternative is available.

Discussion around the Council table was whether the exemption “to provide for heat or cooling” should be eliminated.

Councillor Irving argued that this exemption made enforcement of the bylaw for all intent and purposes unenforceable.  If the enforcement agent knocked on the person’s car window in winter, “Please turn off your engine” the owner could simply respond: “Sorry, but I need the car to keep running to keep warm.”

The Chronicle-Herald Editorial on November 30th read about the NDP’s anti-idling legislation for “public passenger vehicles”: “Without enforcement – which is typically sporadic – such initiatives usually make little difference, except allow a jurisdiction to stake its claim as a legislative pioneer.”

Councillor Irving moved to amend the bylaw to remove the language, but no Councillor would provide a second and so the amendment died.  The Kentville law, the first in the Province, after which Wolfville’s was presumably modeled, has no such exemption.

The very first subject in Staff’s Request for Decision reads: “Issue: To provide an enforceable and appropriate by-law for  . . . Wolfville that will limit/control excessive idling of vehicles within the community.”

There were comments by Councillors that education would be key and not enforcement.  Councillor Simpson opined that enforcement was not needed in Wolfville, but that education and the goodness of residents of Wolfville would suffice.

Perhaps at the public hearing residents could voice an opinion.

Mr. Sanderson had some idle thoughts on this subject also.