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Anti-idling bylaw approved in Richmond

Motorists who allow their vehicle to idle longer than three minutes on public property will soon face a fine of $60—if caught in the act.

City council has given third reading to bylaw amendments aimed at curbing unnecessary vehicle pollution. After the unanimous vote, fourth and final reading is now a formality.

Forty-six B.C. municipalities already have bylaws restricting vehicle idling, according to a B.C. Ministry of Environment report cited by staff.

Under Richmond's new regulations, motorists who exit their vehicle while it's running—for any length of time—will also be committing a bylaw offence.

The bylaw changes do not apply to private property—such as restaurant drive-throughs and mall parking lots—and enforcement will be a challenge, but staff say the new rules will nonetheless serve as a deterrent.

Bylaw officers frequently find vehicles idling unnecessarily on city streets, including large trucks, taxis and charter buses, according to bylaws manager Wayne Mercer.

"The availability of an enforcement tool such as a clear and effective bylaw would assist as a deterrent in these instances," said Mercer in his report.

Exemptions under the proposed anti-idling rules extend to emergency vehicles, tow trucks, armoured vehicles, utility service vehicles and bylaw enforcement vehicles. Also exempt are vehicles used in parades, those carrying passengers where loading or unloading can take more than three minutes and vehicles in which a running engine is required to power onboard equipment.

The $60 fine rises to $100 if not paid within 61 days.

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