Labels ‘not a great idea’

Our Horizon is a non-profit group that would like to see climate change warning labels placed on all gas pump handles in B.C.

It’s a good idea in theory, says Enderby Mayor Greg McCune.

But not an effective one.

McCune, part of the Regional District of North Okanagan board of directors, made the comment following a presentation to the board from Our Horizon B.C. campaign director Matt Hulse.

Our Horizon is a non-profit group that would like to see climate change warning labels placed on all gas pump handles in B.C., warnings that graphically show the damage from climate change and how it could help motorists to cut their emissions.

The campaign is inspired by cigarette package warnings that are credited in the decline of smoking.

“I have a business that sells both fuel and tobacco and I encourage you to maybe look at a different direction,” said McCune, whose family has operated its store in Enderby for 22 years.

“Honest to God, people are not even going to read these (labels)….We have signs on the pumps telling people not to smoke around the pumps. I consistently sweep up 50 cigarette butts from the pump area everyday.”

Hulse, who has presented to the City of Vernon, was seeking the formal support of RDNO for implementation of the warning labels in B.C., and to bring the labels to the municipalities.

The cost per pump to install the labels is about $13.

“There is evidence of climate change in this area: forest fires, water shortage, drought, heat waves,” said Hulse.

Said McCune: “It’s not a great idea –  I’m sorry – in my opinion, but you’re on track. We have to deal with these issues, but I don’t honestly see it being effective.”

Hulse, undaunted, thanked McCune for his honesty and perspective.

“We think the labels will work,” he said.

Support for the labels came from Coldstream director Doug Dirk, who said any effort in the direction of climate change warning is good.

“We’re not trying to change irresponsible people, we’re trying to activate responsible people and deal with people’s consciences,” said Dirk.

“People who smoke at gas pumps, you’re not going to change them through any kind of signage or other means. But if you activate responsible people, you can mount political pressure to bring about a change.”

While RDNO did not offer its support, West Vancouver council will take a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September, asking the province to make the pump labels a requirement province-wide.

The City of North Vancouver council voted to endorse the idea.