The regional district board recently pondered, once again, the fate of the smoke control bylaw, originally discussed at the board level prior to last November’s civic elections.
This time the issue came back to the newly elected board with a recommendation to rescind third reading and abandon the bylaw, under the premise that not all directors were in favour of endorsing it.
A new recommendation, to “have staff clarify service participants, boundaries, and costs and return the bylaws for third reading to the June 7 board meeting,” has been put forward for directors to deal with in two months.
Former regional district air quality manager Janice Johnson spent five years working with the regional district in both volunteer and paid positions to create the bylaw currently being debated by the board.
That represents a lot of time, effort – and taxpayers money that now appears to be headed for oblivion, if things continue on the present course.
The staff recommendation to scrap the bylaw because agreement on the document isn’t universal doesn’t make sense. The majority of directors appear to favour the bylaw as a starting point from which to educate, inform and control bad burning practises. It doesn’t seek to eliminate burning so much as to ensure that it is done properly.
While we aren’t normally in favour yet another piece of legislation that will be difficult to enforce, air quality has been ranked as a high priority by regional district residents. When one adds that to the amount of time, energy and money that has already gone into this legislation, it seems that it would be counterproductive and wasteful for the directors to scrap it now.