Resident wants tighter burn laws

An asthma attack suffered by a Braun's Island resident in southwest Terrace has caused him to seek a change in open burn laws

This burn pile on Braun's Island is at the root of a dispute that has caused one resident to call for reforms to open burning rules.

An asthma attack suffered by a Braun’s Island resident triggered by smoke from burn piles has resulted in the same man calling for reforms to provincial rules surrounding public burns.

The incident occurred March 20 when the owner of a property beside Charles Claus started to burn large piles of logs and other material cleared from the RV park he owns.

Claus, who suffers from asthma, was concerned about the piles being lit and called in the Thornhill Volunteer Fire Department because Braun’s Island is in the regional district and within the department’s operations area and the provincial environment ministry’s emergency line.

Claus said the island is a traditionally rural/agricultural area with large lots and he said the smoke was coming over the large field separating the properties.

Claus said he awoke with a start after midnight March 20.

“I awoke at about 12:30 and our whole house was full of smoke. I could hardly breathe. I am asthmatic.”

The ensuing attack caused him to go to Mills Memorial Hospital where he stayed for two-and-a-half hours on an oxygen inhaler and was given medication.

Later that day Claus said he called the Thornhill fire department and the environment ministry again and that a fire truck was sent to put out the burn piles.

Conservation officer Ryan Gordon who attended the scene said he did hand out a violation ticket to Braun’s Island RV Park property owner Doug Munsen because of “unfavourable weather conditions.”

Open burning is allowed but based on an index of weather conditions which can prevent the practice.

Munsen, who has owned the RV park since 2005, says he is being targeted by his neighbours and has had to put up with a steady stream of officials from various government agencies.

“We have every time we start up a piece of equipment or dump truck we get a visit from anybody who will listen to somebody,” he said. “We are starting a record to do a harassment thing from all of these guys. Because they fined us we are waiting to get some kind of a court subpoena for all those phone calls. How can this guy completely cause havoc every time?”

Claus said that with regards to debris burning, he thinks that it should be outlawed in neighborhood areas.

“We need a much more up-to-date burning bylaw. If someone has a pile and they are legitimately away from a residence, it’s dry wood, the [weather] index is being followed, I can see that that can happen but none of this stuff should be happening within half a mile of residents.”

He said chipping, mulching, or cutting into firewood are modern alternatives.

But Munsen said he worries that if he fired up a chipper, neighbours would complain about the noise.

Thornhill Volunteer Fire Department chief Rick Boehm agreed that open burning laws need to be looked at.

“We have this problem all over Thornhill and we can’t do anything about it because there are no bylaws,” he said. It might also help that rules on when open burning can take place are clearer, Boehm continued.

As it stands, when someone wants to do open burning of debris, they must obtain a reference number from the environment ministry so that the location can be tracked. That reference number comes with conditions setting out how and under what conditions a burn can be undertaken but they are not listed in an obvious way, Boehm said.

 

 

Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Most Read