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The city of North Vancouver is aiming to ban drive-through windows in new restaurants to cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions - not to mention noise and garbage.

The ban was debated last night, but the motion already had overwhelmingly positive public support, Councillor Sam Schechter said.

"Greenhouse-gas emissions in our municipality are caused by motor vehicles and we're trying to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet, trying to build a more sustainable city," he said.

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The by-law will not affect existing businesses.

"We're not actually looking to close existing businesses, we're looking to stop the expansion of drive-throughs in the city," Mr. Schechter said.

Commenting on the effectiveness of the ban on the reduction of greenhouse gases, Mr. Schechter acknowledged that it is a small step.

Some of the city's residents want to make a bolder impression.

"Drive-throughs are certainly convenient," Steve Nimchuk, a maintenance technician at Shaw Cable, said. "People will not stop because of parking, which can be pretty tight.

"Pollution is such a big problem, I don't know if this would even begin to scratch the surface," the North Vancouver resident said.

Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president of Western Canada's Canadian Restaurant and Food Service Association, said limiting drive-throughs could be a problem for the elderly, the disabled and people with health problems.

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"We're interested in working with all municipal councils on making drive-through better with less time in lineups," he said.

Mr. von Schellwitz added that some studies show that vehicles will emit more greenhouse gas trying to find a parking spot than in waiting at a drive-thru.

But Ian Bruce, a climate-change specialist at the David Suzuki Foundation, said communities should be built around people rather than cars.

Mr. Bruce noted that 25 per cent of emissions come from road transportation, with vehicles the largest source of emissions in Canada.

"The motion would go a long way in reducing emissions and improving the quality of life," he said.

Mr. Bruce added that the ban showed a shift in the mentality of communities about the environment and their cities.

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"It is a significant step. It is a big signal that our communities desire to build more pedestrian-friendly areas than strip malls," he said. "The shift in city design is a promising signal."

The ban is one of many environmental plans on North Vancouver's council agenda. Other efforts include expanding bicycle-lane networks and community energy feeding, Mr. Schechter said.

"I encourage people to get green fever and to start living more sustainably and have a planet that is habitable for generations to come," he said.

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