The act of idling – leaving the car engine running when there is no point in doing so – is terrible wasteful and polluting. Unfortunately the dear inhabitants of “La Belle Provence” don’t give a damn.
Despite by-laws established in Westmount, NDG and the city of Montreal, the residents and the police don’t care to turn off their engines…
Via: The Monitor
In early 2006, the City of Montreal adopted the Strategic plan for sustainable development by-law, which included an action to ”eliminate unnecessary vehicle idling” through, among other things, a public awareness campaign. The borough of CDN-NDG subsequently adopted the by-law to support the city’s initiative. Since that by-law was passed, borough residents might recall a notice in the July 2008 NDG-CDN Eco-Quartier newsletter, reminding them that a ”green patroller” employed by the City of Montreal would be out telling people about the harmful effects of car-idling. The newsletter warned its readers not to ”get caught by our patroller with your engine idling”. More recently, you might remember having seen television ads on local TV channels, in which a passer-by steps into a parked car where the driver sits oblivious to the idling of his engine. The passer-by turns off the engine and pats the astonished driver on the leg before climbing out, as the tag line “were you waiting for someone to do it for you?” scrolls across the screen.
On January 22nd, this ad came to my mind as I was strolling down Cavendish and noticed a truck outside a construction site near Benny Park. The two workers inside were chatting as the truck engine idled. It was not a particularly cold day (mean temp -4 degrees) and in fact they had the window partially rolled down, so they were not idling to stay warm. Cavendish is a long street, and the engine continued to idle as I approached on foot, which took ten minutes or more. On impulse, inspired by the city’s ad campaign perhaps, I tapped on the window and informed the driver that idling was against the law and that he should turn his engine off. He raised an eyebrow, chuckled slightly and made no move to cut the engine. I went on my way. However, as luck would have it, I noticed a police car approaching on Sherbrooke St., and I signalled the driver to pull over, which he did. When I told him about the idling truck a short distance away, the cop seemed bemused, looking at me with a “so what?” expression on his face. I explained about the by-law, and how it was his job to enforce it, which he seemed to find somewhat amusing, as he murmured dismissively that the by-law was only enforced in certain circumstances–for example in cold weather, it was not enforced. I pointed out that it was a mild day, much warmer than the -10 degree allowance provided for in the by-law, and then we parted company.
My question for the borough of NDG-CDN and its councillors is: what point is a by-law when it is never enforced? Why is the City of Montreal wasting taxpayers’ money on a television ad campaign for a by-law that is ignored by the cops of the city? Small wonder that one sees idling cars and trucks on a daily basis in and around NDG.
Cym Gomery, NDG resident