The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District has adopted two new burning bylaws to improve air quality within the Alberni Valley.
The first bylaw regulates wood burning appliances within the ACRD. People have until July 2024 to upgrade their old woodstoves that are not in compliance with the bylaw, with exemptions provided for people using modified woodstoves for farm product processing.
The second bylaw regulates open burning within each of the six Electoral Areas (Bamfield, Beaver Creek, Beaufort, Cherry Creek, Long Beach and Sproat Lake), with rules about the time of year and time of day, size of fires, number of fires, setbacks from combustible materials, permitted burning materials and a few other provisions. Both bylaws were adopted during an Oct. 13 ACRD board meeting.
Open burning is only permitted when the ventilation index is “good” and between March 1 to April 30 and Sept. 15 to Nov. 15, unless otherwise prohibited by the province.
There are exemptions for cooking fires and fires relating to farm and forestry practices.
The ACRD has been working on these bylaws for a number of years, with a long public engagement period, but final adoption was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. During Wednesday’s board meeting, Beaver Creek director John McNabb expressed his approval for the new bylaws.
“I think that it definitely is climate change related and it is something that we absolutely need to carry forward,” he said.
ACRD staff have already sent out notices about the new bylaws to regional district households. ACRD planning manager Alex Dyer says there has been “some general resistance” about the new bylaws, but the majority of conversations with residents have been “positive.”
“Staff have had a lot of conversations with members of the public over the last week and a half,” said Dyer. “The majority of these conversations have been positive. The communication plan is working to build awareness within the region, which was the goal of the plan.”
The ACRD does not have a ticketing bylaw in place at the moment, so for now staff will seek voluntary compliance, rather than enforcement. Bylaw staff will respond on a complaint basis.
The full burning bylaws can be read online at www.acrd.bc.ca/burning-bylaw-review, or you can request a paper copy of the bylaws from the ACRD office (3008 Fifth Ave).