City beefs up Hamilton's anti-idling bylaw


Last week, Hamilton City Council approved amendments to the existing City Idling Control By-Law that tightens up the rules that regulate the idling of vehicles in the city.

The change comes after the City's Planning Committee received a staff report earlier this month recommending the change in an effort to improve enforcement of the bylaw.

The bylaw states that no person shall cause or permit a motor vehicle to idle for more than three consecutive minutes in a sixty-minute period.

Vehicles caught violating the amended bylaw could receive a fine of $100.

'Idling' means the parking or standing of a motor vehicle, while the combustion engine is running and is not being used to operate auxiliary equipment that is essential to the basic function of the motor vehicle, the City stipulates in a press release announcing the bylaw change.

One of the key changes to the idling bylaw is the transfer of enforcement to the City's municipal parking division.

Before now, the anti-idling bylaw was enforced by issuing tickets under the Provincial Offences Act and it was considered a 'moving violation.' So if a person left a car idling, the officer who issued the ticket would have to prove who was operating the vehicle at the time of the offence.

This also meant that municipal law enforcement officers who issued tickets could face 'a lengthy formal trial in Provincial Offence Court,' the committee report said.

"Approximately 330 calls for idling contraventions were received since January 1, 2015,
resulting in only two charges with no convictions," the report states.

Since "idling" is more properly categorized as a "parking offence" it can be enforced under the City's Administrative Penalty System and the ensuing ticket would be issued to the registered car owner.

There are quite a few exceptions to the anti-idling bylaw.

They include emergency vehicles, vehicles assisting emergency situations (ie: tow trucks), transit vehicles, and vehicles idling in conditions where outside temperatures are over 27 degrees Celcius or below 5 C where idling may be necessary for air conditioning or heating as long as the vehicle is occupied, among others.

This amendment aligns with the recently approved Corporate Climate Change Task Force Plan, which targets a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, the city says.

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