Woodstove debate in Parksville: to burn or to ban?

City staff will come back to city council with bylaw options

Kirk Oates questioned the political will of his colleagues Monday night as Parksville city council started a debate about bylaws that could change the use of woodstoves in the community.

The first-term councillor wants to ban the future installation of wood-burning appliances outright in city homes.

“We certainly have the ability to pass a bylaw that says no wood-burning appliances are allowed,” said Oates. “I think it behooves this council to look at that. I’m not sure the political will is here though.”

“People who want woodstoves can perhaps move to the regional district.”

Council did not have a bylaw to debate on Monday. What was in front of them was a recommendation from staff — spurred by a previous council request — asking for permission to develop a bylaw for future consideration.

Some members of council were concerned some residents would feel some pressure on their already-stretched pocketbooks if woodstoves were banned, citing the rising cost of other heat sources like electricity.

“It could pose a real hardship for people,” said Coun. Mary Beil.

A staff report from director of community planning Blaine Russell seemed to back Beil’s assertion.

“Many residents in Parksville are on fixed incomes and heating a home with wood is one of the most cost-effective methods available when compared to other options,” wrote Russell.

“I don’t know what the balance is, but I know people are sick from wood smoke,” said Coun. Sue Powell.

Mayor Marc Lefebvre seemed opposed to a total ban.

“It’s debatable that proper wood-burning stoves are a pollutant,” said Lefebvre. “The problem arises when you get someone who doesn’t do it properly, uses wet wood or something.”

The staff report made reference to Lefebvre’s point.

“It is unclear the burning of solid fuel (eg. wood or pellets) for residential heating purposes is causing broad air quality concerns within the city,” Russell wrote.

The staff report detailed regulations and woodstove exchange programs from various levels of senior governments.

Oates said this council “can choose to be at the forefront” of the issue. Coun. Al Greir wasn’t so sure a total ban is what is needed.

“I don’t think we need a knee-jerk reaction here,” said Greir

In the end, council unanimously agreed to instruct staff to come back with some bylaw options.

Council then discussed changes to its outdoor burning bylaws, instigated by burning in October of last year on land just outside the city boundary near Church Road that filled the area with smoke.

“That was a travesty — it should never have been allowed to happen,” said Lefebvre.

Oates advocated for a total ban on the outdoor burning of brush in the city and he believed a strong bylaw of that nature in Parksville could be of use to Lefebvre when he represents the city at the board table of the Regional District of Nanaimo.

“It would be helpful for our rep to the RDN to be able to say ‘look at what we did in Parksville, you guys should consider it’,” said Oates.

Like the woodstove issue, staff was directed to come back to council with bylaw options related to outdoor burning in the city.

• Oates, a national representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, was also demonstrative Monday night when he brought forth a motion asking council to write a letter in support of “saving” Canada Post.

Oates used a preamble to his motion from Canadian Union of Postal Workers, language that pointed the blame for a diminished postal service directly at the federal Conservatives. He also called Canada Post “part of the fabric of the country.”

Oates said hundreds of municipalities across the country have written similar letters to the federal minister responsible for Canada Post. His motion for Parksville to send a similar letter of support passed 5-1, with only Greir opposed (Coun. Leanne Salter was absent Monday night).

“To keep something alive that’s half dead is not in my best interest,” said Greir.

Just Posted

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van burst into flames just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville will host the 2021 B.C. Junior Golf Championships. (PQB News file photo)
Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville to host 150 of B.C’s top junior golfers

Provincial boys and girls championship begins June 28

Hannes Grosse, left, and Iris Steigemann, right, as they prepared for their 'Moments of Silence' exhibit. The father-daughter duo are showing at The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach until June 26. (Submitted photo)
Cortes Island artists exhibit at Qualicum Beach’s TOSH in first father-daughter show

Both artists will be present at shows on Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26

The Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society will get more funding from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted Photo)
More PQB communities to fund Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society

RDN to introduce amendment to service bylaw contribution

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read