Time for North Cowichan to eliminate burning

Time for North Cowichan to eliminate burning

That the municipality should even consider open burning in this day and age is beyond belief.

Time for North Cowichan to eliminate burning

To mayor and councillors, Municipality of North Cowichan

Re: open burning.

That the municipality should even consider open burning in this day and age, and in particular in the Cowichan Valley, is beyond belief.

It is time for zero tolerance! Or at least the next best thing, knowing that wood burning stoves are still a fact of life here on the Island. The problem giving licence to open burning is that it’s not just waste wood that is burnt, but all types of other material, material quite often toxic. I’ve witnessed discarded carpet, linoleum, painted wood and heaven knows what else being thrown on to these open fires. Not at all necessary when we have the facilities to handle this kind of waste. One thing I enjoy daily is to take a morning walk, a walk frequently spoilt because of the smoke-laden air. And our family moving here some 25 years ago, naively thinking that living in such an environment as the Cowichan Valley, we would be escaping the pollution and noxious fumes commonly found in most of our cities.

I experienced and survived the great London smog-laden days of the 1940s and ’50s. A time when in one week some 4,000 people died and a similar number in the weeks that followed. I’m not sure how many currently die annually world-wide because of the polluted and foul air humans are obliged to breathe. It has to be in the hundreds of thousands, but more likely in the millions. The figures are certainly available, as are the statistics for this municipality and the Cowichan Valley.

Surely the mayor and council will have the courage and the good sense to do the right and proper thing and curtail any future open burning and take all the necessary steps to improve, in any way they can, the quality of the air residents of the Valley are forced to breathe. We expect nothing less.

Hiking to the top of Mt. Prevost a few years ago I was both astonished and horrified at what I saw…columns of smoke rising all over the Valley. I thought at the time, how utterly ridiculous. And for the mayor and council to allow this archaic practice to continue surely borders on the criminal. A strong word perhaps, but if North Cowichan really cares about the people here in the Valley, the children, the old and infirm and those with breathing problems of all kinds, those in authority will surely do the right thing and put an end to open burning, once and for all. The municipality has to step into the 21st century, the time long past due. To provide a good example to other communities. To be a leader, in fact.

I, with others deeply concerned, await the forthcoming decision.

Peter Dawson

Cowichan Valley