A mantle of smoke overhangs the city of Port Alberni, indicating a thermal inversion of the sort that commonly traps harmful smoke particulate in winter. (MIKE YOUDS PHOTO)

LETTER: Time to ‘clear the air’ in Port Alberni

Over the past five years we have had two surveys done on the air quality in the Alberni Valley…

To the Editor,

Over the past five years we have had two surveys done on the air quality in the Alberni Valley. The results were not good, and in certain areas of the city quite bad, but city council has yet to address this issue.

The city has a host of projects on the go: paths, trails, the revitalization of the downtown and their never ending promotion as a destination for retirees to take up residence. You would think that air quality would be high on their agenda, but evidently not.

On Feb. 15, 2020 by letter, I did address city council pertaining to air quality in the Valley, but no city councillor found it interesting enough to discuss. Earlier I did try to obtain information from the city, pertaining to the air quality surveys, but the city didn’t have them on file, which I thought was strange. I contacted the CAO Tim Pley who seemed a little surprised that they weren’t on file with the city, but thanks to him, he went the extra mile to get me the information I was looking for, from those who did the survey.

Various cities have implemented strict bylaws for wood burning stoves and fireplaces, pertaining to emission of fine particles and whether or not a stove is registered. Fines are implemented. During an inversion, no wood burning of any kind should be permitted or fines will apply.

Burning wood accounts for 40 percent of fine particle pollution, second only to transportation emissions. Burning wood is also a major cause of winter smog. Having a wood stove exchange program is good, but only if people take advantage of it. With strict bylaws in place, it can and will reduce the pollution in the Valley, but bylaws must be enforced. It is time to clean up the air in the Valley.

Alf Thompson,

Port Alberni

Alberni Valley News

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