Smoke hasn’t cleared over RDOS bylaw

Smoke control bylaw back on the table after consultation, changes

After much discussion, and a change of board directors, the regional district’s smoke control bylaw has once again come back to the board table.

The smoke control bylaw was originally given three readings at the September 1, 2011 board meeting, prior to the board defeating it.

The bylaw was designed to encourage efficient burning practices for open air burns and wood heating.

With a new board having taken the reins in late 2011, the bylaw was presented again, this time to the new board in March of this year.

Questions surrounding certain aspects of the bylaw remained to be answered after the March presentation to the board. Specifically, the open burning section of the bylaw appeared to be controversial, and a question as to whether Ministry of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resources would enforce the Wildfire Act if the RDOS smoke control bylaw were to be adopted region wide needed to be answered.

After consultation with the MFLN, it was determined by regional district staff that if the bylaw were amended to include only wood buring appliances and adopted region wide, there would be no conflict with the Wildfire Act.

A bylaw enforcement officer would enforce the bylaw, with sufficient funding already in place to answer 50 calls at an average of $200 per call. Bylaw enforcement funding would come from a $10,000 provincial grant, which is expected to cover two years’ worth of enforcement.

After the grant money is exhausted, the bylaw is expected to cost taxpayers roughly four cents per $100,000 of assessment.

The revised smoke control bylaw will come before the board for adoption during the next regular meeting of the board. Each director must give assent for their area.