Halifax councillor asks staff to look at banning new drive-thrus
Whether it's grabbing that morning cup of coffee or a quick bite to eat on the way home from work, the drive-thru is tempting for many.
That's why it may come as a surprise that one Halifax-area councillor would like to see a ban on drive-thrus in the city.
Halifax Coun. Richard Zurawski recently asked city staff to study the idea of banning drive-thrus in the municipality.
“The motion is to remove drive-thrus in the municipality, but that means that any drive-thrus that are currently in existence can stay, it just means that no new drive-thrus can be constructed & you couldn't add on to any existing drive-thrus,” said Halifax Regional Municipality spokesman Nick Ritcey.
One business expert isn't sure how much of an impact a drive-thru ban would have on the environment, but does think “adding more rules and regulations” would be bad for business.
Ed McHugh, a business professor at the Nova Scotia Community College.
“Small business owners will tell you there's a lot of bureaucracy around business and I think we should be looking at how we can make things wide open,” said McHugh.
Halifax Coun. Shawn Cleary supports the idea of looking at a drive-thru ban.
He says the goal is to create a city where a car isn't the only way to get around.
“If we make transit better, if we make more complete communities, if we do have more walkable neighbourhoods, there will be less and less demand for these things,” Cleary said. “It is not going to be the silver bullet that you know clears up global warming. Climate change is far more complex and there are far more contributors to our greenhouse gas emissions than just idling at (drive-thrus).”
A ban on new drive-thrus is already in place in 27 jurisdictions across Canada.
There has been actually been a ban on building new drive-thrus in the downtown area of Halifax since 2012.
The Ecology Action Centre says anything we can do to reduce idling is important.
“We need to create an environment where the right choice is the easy choice, or the healthy choice is the easy choice,” said Kelsey Lane of the Ecology Action Centre. “What I mean by that is, we need to make it easy to choose walking, or choose biking, or choose the bus as an easy way to get around, and we need to improve those systems so placing walkability over drive-thrus for instance is one way to do that.”
It will likely be months before the drive-thru ban idea is back before council.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Natasha Pace.