Williams blasts city drivers for idling away tax dollars

Public urged to blow the whistle on employees who waste fuel



City of Iqaluit drivers are under fire, again.

They’ve been criticized as under-qualified, under-trained, and reckless. A couple of months ago, one was fired for smoking a joint before starting his shift.

Now, council members want to know why drivers are burning up tax dollars, idling in parking lots around the city, including at the steps of city hall.

During his attack on municipal drivers at a council meeting this week, councillor Glenn Williams urged council to take such waste into account when assembling the coming budget.

Williams suggested past budgets had wasted money buying heavy equipment that wasn’t needed.

In light of this, Williams was critical of drivers who waste fuel and subject vehicles to unnecessary wear and tear. He said Iqaluit residents should report to city hall whenever they see municipal vehicles idling.

“There seems to be no other way of stopping the waste of fuel and wear and tear on our vehicles,” Williams said.

During statements at the beginning of the council’s Dec. 9 meeting, Williams described how he’s seen city vehicles idling in areas like the post office and the banks on mild days.

“The only vehicles idling are city vehicles,” he said. “Even the taxis were shut off. What’s with that?”

Even the evening of the council meeting, when temperatures were barely below zero, Williams saw an emergency vehicle idling outside the fire hall, which has a heated garage.

Other councillors echoed Williams’ concerns. Through a translator, Simanuk Kilabuk questioned whether employees were being trained properly.

“If this is an issue … why are we not telling them not to use so much gas during working hours?” Kilabuk wondered.

However, the supervisor for many city drivers cautioned that imposing stricter guidelines on idling trucks could backfire.

Dave Angrove, the city’s garage foreman, said drivers need to idle trucks for safety purposes, such as keeping windows from fogging or icing up.

He added that keeping the motor running could also be saving money.

“It’s a great idea,” Angrove said of reducing idling, “but any money you save in gas, you’re going to lose in starter motors and alternators, starting them up all the time.”

Angrove also noted that most city trucks have automatic transmission, and cannot be driven without being warmed up during colder weather.

A city report on greenhouse gas emissions estimates $11,840 could be saved if administration imposed an anti-idling program on municipal drivers.

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