January 4, 2005: Capilano College holds idle-free campaign

      January 4, 2005
      Contact: Shelley Kean
      Tel: 604.983.7596

      (NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Over the years, there have been many myths perpetuated about basic car care. One of the more damaging to our atmosphere is the belief that shutting off and restarting a car is worse for the engine and burns more gas than idling. In reality, after 10 seconds, idling becomes more damaging to the engine, burns more gas, and, in turn, burns a bigger hole in the driver’s pocket.

      In an effort to raise awareness about the consequences of idling engines, Capilano College will be holding an idle free campaign at noon on Wednesday, January 12. The event is geared towards informing and educating drivers about the harm an idling vehicle does to the environment, the vehicle, and to the overall environmental health of the community.

      Sociology instructor Dr. Gordon Bailey, along with other members of the College’s Transportation Committee, is spearheading the campaign.

      “It’s just one of those things I’ve been interested in for a while,” Gordon says about the environmental initiative. “Idling simply isn’t on people’s radar, even though idling your vehicle for longer than three minutes is against the law in North Vancouver.”

      Bailey, an avid cyclist, says that the campaign addresses several of the College’s key goals outlined in its three-year institutional plan – in particular, the College’s goal to practice environmental stewardship. The College is already participating in a number of environment-friendly programs, including a recycling program for beverage containers, toner cartridges, cell phones (that are set up to dial 911 and donated for use by people at risk), and cardboard. Another major initiative, recently approved by the College Board is the Lighting Energy Retrofit. This is a $670,000 upgrade of the institution’s lighting and lighting controls. One third of the cost will come from BC Hydro and NRCan. It is estimated that this project will save 1,744,317 KwH of electricity per year.

      “A real problem is the fact that people are idling their engines while waiting for parking spots to become available,” Bailey says. “We really have to address the fact that these people are polluting the environment and creating a health hazard.”

      To assist with this dilemma, the College is participating in the Translink U-Pass initiative, a program geared towards getting people out of their vehicles and onto public transit. The program has the potential to alleviate some parking challenges currently faced at the College. The program is in the initial stages and will depend on the students passing a referendum before it can be implemented.

      Translink will be on hand for the event and will be offering a single-zone adult monthly pass as a prize. The organization will also have a display of environmentally sustainable transportation initiatives. Also participating will be the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the District of North Vancouver, B.E.S.T. (Better Environmentally Sound Transportation), and provincial and federal departments of the environment. In addition, the Mobile Air Monitoring Unit will be at the campus to take readings of vehicle CO2 emissions.

      Booths will be set up in the Birch building cafeteria, while outdoors a DNV enforcement officer will be present to hand out warning tickets for idling infractions. New permanent signage will be in place informing drivers that they are in an idle-free zone. These will be the first signs of their kind to appear on the North Shore.

      “Our hope is that Capilano College will lead the way to a cleaner environment in the GVRD,” Bailey says. “Limiting the amount of time your car idles can greatly decrease the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, increase the life of your vehicle, and save you money.”

      For more information about the impact of idling, visit www.best.bc.ca, or www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/idling.

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