COQUITLAM, B.C., Feb. 8, 2022 – Better air quality and reduced greenhouse gases (GHGs) are the key goals of a new Coquitlam bylaw banning unnecessary vehicle idling.
Now in effect, anti-idling regulations in Coquitlam’s Street and Traffic Bylaw prohibit vehicle idling for more than three minutes when not necessary, such as warming up a car or waiting for a train or passengers. Exceptions include, but are not limited to, emergencies, active passenger loading or unloading, repairs or following traffic directions.
City Council adopted the new bylaw Feb. 7 after receiving approval from the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
Education the First Step for New Bylaw
The new bylaw supports the City’s Environmental Sustainability Plan, which calls for short-term actions to reduce GHGs, such as anti-idling regulations and awareness.
In the coming weeks, Coquitlam will kick off a comprehensive campaign to educate the public about the idling ban and its benefits, including online resources, advertising, social media posts and signs where vehicle idling is prevalent, such as schools, recreation centres and SkyTrain stations.
Exceptions include emergencies, necessary idling during repairs, vehicles in City-approved parades or events, active passenger loading or unloading, armoured vehicles, preserving perishables (e.g. heating or refrigeration systems) and complying with directions from a police officer, traffic signal or traffic flagger.
Enforcement of the new bylaw will initially focus on education but may include a fine of up to $150.
Vehicle idling contributes to GHGs by pumping particulates, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulphur oxide, volatile organic compounds and other toxins into the air, which can impact human health. Air quality also suffers, particularly around vehicle idling hotspots.
Details on the new Street and Traffic Bylaw 5003, 2019 and more information can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/anti-idling.
Work on the new anti-idling bylaw dates back to 2019. The City gave the bylaw its first three of four readings in September 2019 but required provincial approval to adopt regulations related to environmental protection, based on the Community Charter governing local governments. Provincial approval was received in fall 2021.
Earlier anti-idling efforts included a two-minute idling cap for City vehicles (with some exceptions) introduced in 2010, and anti-idling signs installed at rail crossings at Westwood Street, Pitt River Road and Kingsway Avenue in 2011.
Climate Action in Coquitlam
The bylaw is the latest example of the City’s long-standing commitment to addressing climate change, including adopting the Climate Adaptation Strategic Plan in 2020 and making climate action a key theme in the new Environmental Sustainability Plan, adopted in 2022. A new Climate Action Plan will also be developed as a top business priority for the City, with that work beginning this year.
Coquitlam signed the BC Climate Action Charter in 2007 and strengthened that commitment in December of 2019, when Council endorsed a motion calling on all levels of government around the world to act with more urgency to lower GHGs.
City activities to reduce GHGs and conserve energy include monitoring energy use in buildings, staff education, energy-sharing systems, LED lighting, programmable thermostats, waste heat recovery systems, and a growing “Ecofleet” of electric, hybrid and fuel-efficient compact vehicles.
Coquitlam also promotes energy conservation to the community, including energy rebate programs, energy-saving tips and a growing electric vehicle charging network (see www.coquitlam.ca/evcharging).
For more information visit www.coquitlam.ca/climateaction.
City of Coquitlam