Outdoor Burning and Green Waste

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On November 23, 2020, Council directed staff to develop a Green Waste Disposal Strategy to determine the most cost effective and fair manner of managing green waste disposal for residential/commercial, agricultural/ALR, and subdivision/ development lands by examining disposal alternatives such as outdoor burning, green waste facility, and seasonal pick up service while keeping in mind the guiding principles and suggested timeline Milestones (attached).

Background

Outdoor burning has been allowed in North Saanich for many years as a way to manage excess green waste. However, there is a growing awareness about the impact of outdoor burning on air quality, and in

On November 23, 2020, Council directed staff to develop a Green Waste Disposal Strategy to determine the most cost effective and fair manner of managing green waste disposal for residential/commercial, agricultural/ALR, and subdivision/ development lands by examining disposal alternatives such as outdoor burning, green waste facility, and seasonal pick up service while keeping in mind the guiding principles and suggested timeline Milestones (attached).

Background

Outdoor burning has been allowed in North Saanich for many years as a way to manage excess green waste. However, there is a growing awareness about the impact of outdoor burning on air quality, and in turn, the impact of poor air quality on human health, particularly for vulnerable individuals including children, the elderly, and people with pre-existing health conditions. There is also a growing awareness that outdoor burning contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The District is considering what changes to make to the outdoor burning rules and green waste drop-off service levels to address these concerns.

The District launched a survey on July 15, 2020 (closed August 17, 2020) to find out about the community's perspective on these issues. This information will help inform staff recommendations and Council's decisions regarding any changes to the rules or drop-off service.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
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    Hi, I'm new resident at North Saanich. 1. Is blackberry and Ivy from yard can be disposed at 10180 Littlewood Rd location? If not, where can I dispose them? 2. Are yard waste paper bags that are available at Home Hardware stores can be disposed with yard waste at 10180 Littlewood Rd location?

    DeanPorque asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for the questions. There are currently no restrictions on invasive species so ivy and blackberry vines and branches are allowed. Recyclable garden waste bags are also accepted.

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    With reference to the bylaw posted on the website: While it appears that North Saanich has authority to regulate open burning by bylaw, provincial statutes require that: (1) the details of the regulatory system authorizing the application for, and issuance of, burning permits must be included in the bylaw (and it is noted that they are not, possibly invalidating many issued burning permits); and (2) since open burning relates to public health and protection of the natural environment, North Saanich's authority in the matter is subject to provincial involvement ("concurrent authority" provisions), requiring prior consultation and agreement with the ministries of health and environment and recognition of OBSCR, prior to adoption of the required bylaw amendments. I am referring to the following link: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/local-governments/governance-powers/powers-services/municipal-powers-services/regulatory-powers North Saanich is required to act within the defined scope of jurisdiction by adhering to the provincial statutes. It appears that North Saanich's current open burning authorization system may be invalid until the bylaw is amended to include it, and the bylaw amendments must also meet the concurrence of the ministries of environment and health before the bylaw can be adopted to allow burning authorizations to, once again, be issued. In short, it appears that burning regulations are not so much about what the public wants to see happen, but what the ministries of environment and health will allow North Saanich to do. Please comment on the above situation and how North Saanich is intending to sort out these statutory irregularities.

    larry asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for the feedback. Your comments will be considered as the bylaw is revised and updated.

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    Why does your survey not include an alternative for expanding or moving the burning season? Part of the problem I suspect is that the burning season coincides with the rainy season in North Saanich. By allowing more burning in October/November and April/May the district could improve dry/clean burning and also have more available burning days per year (dry) thereby reducing the daily smoke concentration.

    Rodger asked about 1 year ago

    Hi Rodger,

    Thanks for the feedback. Please feel free to include this suggestion in the other options to consider comment section of the survey.

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    Thank-you for confirming that the regulations of both OBSCR and the District's bylaw apply to open burning in North Saanich, and, in the event of a contravention of any terms, the OBSCR prevails, as it is a provincial requirement. Who at the District is responsible for administering the requirements of OBSCR? Also, please post the current fire bylaw on the website.

    Larry asked about 1 year ago

    Hi Larry,

    Both the OBSCR and North Saanich bylaws apply; there are no contravention of terms. The District does not administer the OBSCR.

    Here is the link to the bylaw. Note: Council has directed that the bylaw be updated.

    https://www.connectnorthsaanich.ca/15057/widgets/59616/documents/38006 

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    Why does OBSCR not apply to the District's operations? The OBSCR Factsheet states that open burning must comply with OBSCR first, and secondly North Saanich's bylaw. The Factsheet indicates that all open burning is affected by this regulation, unless the material is less than 1-inch (3cm) in diameter. The District's burning permits approve of 3 pile sizes that are between 3-ft, 10-ft. and larger than 10-ft, with no mention of material size in those piles. There appears to be a contradiction of regulations here.

    Larry asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for the question. The Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation (OBSCR) does apply in North Saanich as does the District’s bylaw. The OBSCR establishes a minimum standard, however, the District’s bylaw further regulates open burning. As stated on page one of the fact sheet: “Open burning must also meet any bylaw requirements set by local governments.” For example, OBSCR restricts moving material (greater than 3 cm in diameter) to a maximum of 5 km. The District’s bylaw prohibits moving material from one property to another for the purposes of burning. Both of these restrictions must be adhered to.

    The District is currently reviewing the bylaw (which predates implementation of OBSCR). We welcome all feedback in regards to when and how burning should be allowed and what should be regulated in the bylaw. If you haven’t already, please complete the survey. There are opportunities to provide additional comments.

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    How many complaints are received on average each year? Are they mapped for each area of North Saanich? Is there areas where complaints more concentrated? If so, can that information be shared?

    Derek asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your questions.

    We receive approximately 100 complaints on average per year. The complaints are generally spread out around the District although some regions have slightly higher volumes of complaints. 

    The focus for any future changes is to address issues of air quality as opposed to the number of complaints received. As such, we have no plans to map the complaints unless directed by Council.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions.

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    If burning is further restricted, will the rural property owners be required to bear the added burden and expense to dispose the trash?

    Bryce asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for the questions. The survey does ask about possible alternatives to burning. These include potential expansion of the green waste drop-off and associated fees for drop-off. We encourage you to complete the survey to provide your feedback.

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    why use the term green waste and not differentiate wood waste there is a huge difference to air quality when burnt? I also burn wood to heat my house as an affordable energy/heat source why has this not been included if air quality and health are such a big concern? Why are you not properly composting and selling a commodity at the drop off, a healthy soil booster on the end of this waste stream can provide a revenue neutral program ? Please compare the emissions of a years open air burning in DNS to a day of peak wild fire burning in the province to get a perspective people can appreciate

    Brian asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for the suggestions. There are opportunities in the survey to suggest alternatives to the outdoor burning rules and, more generally, alternatives to burning. We encourage you to consider providing these suggestions via the survey.

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    Would it be possible for the township to offer pickup service for people’s green waste such as lawn cutting’s and pruning waste? I agree, we do not want North Saanich residents polluting the atmosphere. You could ask residents to purchase their own pickup bins.

    Dr. Wingate asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for the question. The District does not currently have any collection services (garbage or green waste) due to the costs associated with these services. We invite you to complete the survey and provide your feedback if you support adding this service.

Page last updated: 10 December 2020, 11:46