Waste-pile burning near Parksville last week that caused breathing problems and deposited ash in neighbourhoods became a hot topic at city council Monday night.
The two current councillors who are running for mayor Nov. 15 — Marc Lefebvre and Bill Neufeld — put forward successful motions related to waste burning.
Lefebvre is the city’s representative on the Regional District of Nanaimo board of directors. He asked council for permission to ask RDN staff to write the provincial government insisting on more environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of waste from land clearing. He will also ask the RDN to consider a burning ban much like that in place in the Comox Valley Regional District.
Neufeld asked city staff to come back to council soon with a report on what bylaws can be instituted or altered regarding burning within city limits.
“It’s something that should have been done a long time ago,” said Neufeld.
Talk then turned to woodstoves in the city and what effect they have on air quality. Lefebvre said the RDN has a woodstove-upgrade incentive program that likely will continue. That means any ban the city considers could put it in conflict with RDN directives and incentives.
“We might have a dichotomy here,” he said.
Coun. Al Greir supported the motions to have staff look more closely at burning laws, but he mused about the past. “I wonder how people survived 60 years ago when everybody was burning wood,” said Greir.
In other news from a light agenda Monday night:
• Two homeowners appeared before council, asking the city not to put a notice of title on their properties. Mayor Chris Burger and city staff explained the notice is not like a lien, but the city feels it has to put the notice on properties to protect taxpayers from future liabilities. Generally, a notice is put on properties when a building permit was issued, expired and the work was not completed. The mayor explained the notice protects the city, which could be liable to court action if the property sells and it knew the work wasn’t completed and didn’t have a notice on the property. The owners of properties at 260 Moss Ave. and 14-1501 Resort Drive pleaded for council not to put the notice on their properties and explained their situations related to their property upgrades. In the end, council decided to put the notice on both properties.
• Council passed a motion confirming to the provincial liquor control board it had no comment about the Fraternal Order of Eagles’ application for a liquor-primary licence.
• Council gave first reading to a bylaw that would allow Our Saviour Luthern Church on the Island Highway to expand its parking lot. A public hearing will be held before second reading.
• Council gave third reading to bylaws related to the Kingsley Low-Rental Housing Society’s plans for construction on Hirst Avenue.