The family of Shirley Crosson has been in the Cowichan Valley a long time. Here they are on their former property on Cairnsmore Street in Duncan. (submitted)

The family of Shirley Crosson has been in the Cowichan Valley a long time. Here they are on their former property on Cairnsmore Street in Duncan. (submitted)

Fifth generation Valley resident fighting for clean air

I did not just roll into town with the intention of fighting things the way they are.

Fifth generation Valley resident fighting for clean air

I did not just roll into town with the intention of fighting things the way they are. I will not move because I don’t like the wood smoke so please stop asking me to.

I am part of a family that has been here for five generations. My grandparents owned Potts’s Healthy Bakery on the land that is across from the Guide hall on Cairnsmore. Our seven grandchildren have been and are being raised in this valley.

Please educate yourself about the harm of woodsmoke before you add your seeming lack of compassion to our work. The three “chronies” on the front page of last week’s paper are spending enormous amounts of time on a volunteer basis. You are slowing us down in achieving fresh air by sending in letters to the Citizen, Facebook, and showing up at council meetings telling us how you can’t seem to, or just don’t want to, give up the primal need to burn.

Wednesday of last week our mayor and council took us backwards, allowing 75 days in the fall to burn starting next year. They believe you will check the ventilation index before you light your fire. They also believe you will follow the guidelines on where to burn on your property, how long to burn for and what size fire you are allowed. I don’t know what is more disturbing for me, the thought that they actually believe this will happen or that most of our elected council do not seem to understand what the smoke is doing to us and are making decisions about our health that we really need to pay attention to.

We did not invite the Ministry of Environment and Health to help because of “a few leaves being burnt once or twice a year”. That does not gives us and the thousands of bright and caring minds much credit for all we are doing. In the end we will all be healthier and happier.

Please come out of the smoke and see what is happening to our air quality. We need your help, not your angry criticism.

To the person who suggested we take care of the mill’s pollution first, I agree with you, it might be having a very serious harmful effect on our health. But you see the problem is I just don’t have time to do it all. Would you please consider taking on this huge task yourself? It will be a big job; I have been working on this one for 18 years and here we are, still polluted with wood smoke many, many days of the year.

Our mayor and council have been educated over and over about the negative health impact of woodsmoke but they cannot move forward because too many of them want to burn. What I have witnessed over and over is some of them do what works for them and we who are asking for what is our right, clean air, are getting left in the smoke.

When I see a letter that is condeming us for our efforts and is spouting off uninformed nonsense I send a prayer. What else can we do? Some people just won’t be told what they can and cannot do, regardless of how it effects everyone.

Good luck and good health to us all.

Shirley Crosson

North Cowichan