LETTER: Wood heat critic produces more smoke than light

Mr. Ken Hay’s letter (Time to close the book on wood heating, Dec. 14) states confusingly he has been “complaining for 15 years about air quality” in the heavily populated Parksville-Qualicum Beach region, where aging urban newcomer apartment and condo dwellers might likely support his campaign, rather than rural RDN residents.

There seems more smoke than fire in Mr. Hay’s campaign to override the wishes of the tens of thousands of Regional District residents who responsibly use wood heat. These taxpayers chose to live in the Regional District of Nanaimo rather than dense urban areas. Mr. Hay was obviously well aware that his neighbours commonly use wood heat in winter when he came here from the city. If he chose a house 20 meters from someone using this common rural heat source why does he think, as a newcomer well aware of the bylaws, longtime residents should change for his lack of diligence and planning?

Then and now, a wide variety of larger acreages exist for sale in the RDN that separate properties adequately. My friends in the city would take issue with his statement people in the city can sleep with open windows and, after the recent storm, probably envy our warm houses.

Unfortunately, Mr. Hay’s passionate letter could be incorrectly interpreted that no progress has been made since he arrived. This is not true. Your editorial and Dr. (Paul) Hassleback point out there are responsible ways to sharply reduce emissions, and the RDN has been proactive in implementing these and educating users. Older stoves released 15-30 grams of smoke per hour, new CSA-certified stoves emit 4.5 grams, a huge decrease. New technologies foresee 1.3 grams per hour. Modern stove models can produce almost no smoke, and minimal ash.

Kudos to RDN directors for sensibly implementing positive incentives to improve our clean rural air.

Roy Alexander

Parksville

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