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Letter: Vernon’s Drive-through ban ignored

Council went against a staff recommendation calling to amend text in its zoning bylaw to prevent drive-thrus
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Re: Vernon curbs drive-thru ban plan (March 16)

I was very disappointed to read that several councillors had voted against a ban on drive-throughs, thus ignoring the wishes of the community as stated in our Official Community Plan (OCP). The main reasons given in the news article ignored the elephant in the room – our climate crisis, and even ignored our need for more active transportation.

The drive-through ban mentioned in Vernon’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was put in place so that we all can help mitigate and adapt to the effects of the climate crisis on everyone. Council must support the health and safety needs of all residents and not just a few (future?) businesses.

We all need, immediately, to re-think how we live and do business. If a business product is good enough, people will support it without need of a drive-through. Despite the pandemic, many businesses which did not have drive-throughs squeaked by, with drivers parking briefly to do a pick-up. Food delivery services were another option that sprang up and worked. Flexibility is important; allowing drive-throughs in this current climate is not.

Successful cities in other countries with happy shoppers/walkers/café and restaurant users have NO vehicles in the downtown core. Walkers abound and shops are successful. Sense of community is strong and travellers love it. Why not in Vernon? And, why not reduce the speed to 30 kph in the immediate downtown core to make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and others.

Recently I walked 15 minutes to a drive-through for tea, sat inside, and watched who was using the drive-through. Almost all were between the ages of 18 and 50 or so. I have even seen young families use the drive through. The “aging population” mentioned as needing it seem a small percentage of users. Surely most seniors who still drive can still walk 30 feet into a store to shop or get coffee? Drive throughs only add convenience and air pollution (and poorer physical health?).

Julia Lissau