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Council to tackle problem of idling on the job

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
June 2nd, 2011

City council could be making a plan to stop City workers from idling while on the job.

An idle free policy for City-owned vehicles is being considered at the behest of the corporate climate action coordinator, Fiona Galbraith, in an effort to help reduce the amount of carbon emissions City operations produces.

Although City council supported the idea of the creation of an idling policy, there were some concerns on how it would be implemented.

Idling is kind of a way of life in Canada, said Coun. Marg Stacey, and, as a result, it is a funny place to get the legalities of such a policy in place, considering the cold weather makes idling — or warm up — a necessity.

“Do we have an idling problem in the city?” she asked.

“Because the City vehicles are not outfitted with onboard computers to track that sort of thing, it is hard to say,” said Galbraith.

The draft policy will first see the light as an awareness building exercise with City staff, but, again, without having “computers in vehicles it is difficult to enforce,” Galbraith told City council Monday night at the committee of the whole meeting.

Galbraith said the policy would apply to City buses as well, their downtown idling at bus stops a real sore point for some city residents.

But, no matter how difficult it is to enforce, the idea of not idling City vehicles needed to become ingrained in the corporate culture of the City, said Mayor John Dooley.

“Then we’re sending a message to the greater community as well,” he said. “And there should be some savings from fuel costs.”

Idle times up to five minutes would be allowed for vehicles during their initial shift warm up, and at subsequent times when the vehicle is being re-started after a prolonged period of shut down.

Vehicles may idle for the purpose of defogging, defrosting or de-icing windows. Staff may also idle vehicles and equipment for the purpose of getting warm or dry if indoor accommodations are not available at the work site.

Emergency vehicles and extreme weather conditions would be exempt from the policy.!/TheNelsonDaily

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