Staff are recommending North Saanich limit outdoor burning to days with good venting index. (Black Press File Photo)

Staff are recommending North Saanich limit outdoor burning to days with good venting index. (Black Press File Photo)

North Saanich defers key questions around open burning

North Saanich staff have recommend tougher open burning bylaw, but public opposition strong

A staff recommendation to limit outdoor burning in North Saanich to days with a good venting index remains on the table when councillors meet again on Nov. 23, as council continues to grapple with the controversial issue.

The recommendation to limit outdoor burning to days was one of five recommendations in a staff report before council Monday. Its would limit outdoor burning to days with a good venting index starting Feb. 21, 2021 and eliminate the municipality’s outdoor burning calendar.

Correspondence as well survey results point to no small measure of public opposition to tougher measures, even as public concerns about the negative effects of outdoor burning on human health and the environment have grown.

The rules permits burning on the first and third consecutive Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of each month in the season with the 2020-21 burning season having started on Nov. 5. The final three days of the outdoor burning season are May 6-8, 2021.

Under the current calendar, North Saanich residents would have 38 burning days.

“I don’t think anybody seems to be convinced around the table here that applying the venting index at this point is the way to go,” said Coun. Patricia Pearson, while calling for the cut of the permissible burning days in January and February from the calendar.

Ultimately, Pearson’s motion failed with Mayor Geoff Orr joining Coun. Heather Gartshore, Jack McClintock, Brett Smyth and Celia Stock in opposition. Coun. Murray Weisenberger supported the motion. Gartshore later expressed support for using the venting index.

RELATED: North Saanich sparks online survey on outdoor burning and green waste drop-off

The results of a public survey conducted over the summer seem to send conflicting messages to council.

On one hand, 52 per cent of respondents said they are somewhat or are very supportive of the idea of limiting burning to days with a good venting index. Thirty-two per cent said they were not at all or not very supportive of that measure. But 57 per cent also said they are very or somewhat supportive of keeping the same rules in place, which do not speak of using the venting index.

Also still unresolved is the question of restricting burning to parcels of land greater than 0.2 hectares (0.5 acres). That would restrict a “large number of lots from outdoor burning” that traditionally have had no restrictions, according to staff, impacting almost 2,000 households.

Council also punted the question of whether to double the cost of a permit to $50 to its next meeting.

Orr made a motion to push the issue into May 2021 to gather more information including the outcome of public budget consultation on green waste services.

Pearson with support of Garthshore questioned this move, noting that the public has been demanding action for some time. Council’s job is making decisions for the greater good of community, said Gartshore. Her comments eventually led to an approved motion to continue the discussion on Nov. 23. But it also divided council once again with McClintock, Smyth and Weisenberger opposed.

While Orr turned out to be the deciding vote, his comments questioned the utility of that meeting.

“I’m not convinced we will get anything, but I will further that, so we kind of compromise.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A report by investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond found “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in a report released Monday.
Investigation finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’ in provincial health care

The report could not confirm allegations of coordinated alcohol-blood level guessing game

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Monday morning. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong wind whips Greater Victoria

Winds predicted to subside by Monday afternoon

Classes are cancelled at Royal Bay Secondary School and other schools Nov. 30 due to power outages. (Black Press Media file photo)
Classes cancelled across the West Shore, Sooke due to power outages

Students can be picked up but facilities remain open

Victoria police issued tickets to two Victoria party hosts Saturday night, according to VicPD Chief Del Manak. (Unsplash)
Victoria partiers hid in closets, bedrooms in an attempt to avoid fines

Police gave out COVID-19 tickets to two separate parties

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Remains of the scene off Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek where three bodies were found on Nov. 1, 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Probe continues into grisly mid-Island discovery of 3 human bodies, 4 dead dogs

Police still want to speak with motorist who picked up hitchhikers near scene on Nov. 1

An man from Errington died when his ATV went over an embankment on Northwest Bay Logging Road on the weekend. (File photo)
ATV rider goes over embankment and dies on back road near Nanaimo

45-year-old man from Errington died in incident Saturday afternoon

The Nov. 20 WestJet flight 3171 has been identified by the BC Centre for Disease Control with a COVID case aboard. (Black Press file photo)
Fifth COVID-19 exposure reported on flight at Comox airport

Another exposure risk from flight originating in Calgary

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

Most Read