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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Turn it off! New idling bylaw will be enforced by complaint
The town does not have the resources to go out and actively investigate everything, says Coun. Erwin Wiens, which is why the new idling bylaw will be "complaint-driven." FILE PHOTO

Niagara-on-the-Lake’s new bylaw aims to reduce idling and support sustainability, but if you want it to stop, you’ll have to keep your eyes open to catch people running their engines.

The idling reduction bylaw, which takes effect on June 1, states that drivers cannot idle their cars for more than three minutes on private or public property, at the risk of running a $350 fine. 

The bylaw will be “mostly complaint-driven,” a media release from the town said.

Tony Hendriks, owner of Hendriks Independent Grocer on Queen Street, has had signs up outside the store for more than a year asking people not to idle their vehicles.

Hendriks told The Lake Report that the signs were put up after a customer approached him saying they noticed several vehicles idling outside the store. 

“People should not be idling for no reason. It’s bad for the environment, everybody knows that,” he said.

But, Hendriks is skeptical about how easy it will be to reprimand idlers. 

“Enforcement-wise, we’ll see how that goes,” he said. “They can’t even enforce parking so I’m not sure how they’ll be able to enforce this,” he said.

Coun. Erwin Wiens said that the bylaw is meant to act as a message to residents to stop idling their cars.

“We always want to do things through a carrot and not a stick,” he told The Lake Report.

“We want to make it so that people are compliant and they want to comply because that’s where we vote as a society.”

The town does not have the resources to go out and actively investigate everything, Wiens added.

“So they’re complaint-driven and that’s how we’ve operated for decades,” he said.

Coun. Wendy Cheropita said town staff will see how to best enforce the rule and that councillors stand to approve the general intent of the bylaw. 

“I think all of us agreed that it’s a good idea to stop idling cars. I used to notice in the summer, sometimes even our own municipal trucks would be out in the middle of the road idling because they could not find a parking spot,” she said. 

“We’re all responsible for shutting our cars down and not putting unnecessary fumes into the air.”


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