Backyard burning banned in multiple CVRD districts, communities

Backyard burning ban takes effect in southern CVRD. Lakeside and northern CVRD districts debate following suit.

Saltair and North Oyster are considering joining other rural Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) areas in a bid to snuff backyard burning.

Effective immediately backyard burning is banned for 10 months of the year in the CVRD’s five most southerly rural areas.

Regional directors passed landmark Bylaw 3716 to boost air quality and reduce smoke pollution that’s plagued patients, health agents and Cowichan carbon busters for years.

But the four remaining areas are considering their options.

Saltair joins the Cowichan Lake-Skutz Falls area in sending the bylaw back to its advisory planning commissioners for more comment, CVRD staff says.

Meanwhile, Youbou and North Oyster are holding off on adopting 3716 pending further public discussion of the matter.

North Oyster-Diamond director Mary Marcotte said the bylaw allows burning to be conducted during brief periods of the fall and spring, windows of opportunity her constituents “might find very acceptable.”

Before 3716 is adopted or rejected by Area H, though, Marcotte said she will solicit feedback from community members “hopefully by early fall.”

Saltair director Mel Dorey was unavailable for comment.

Backyard burning is banned completely in Ladysmith, Duncan and Lake Cowichan.

The burning ban answers the board’s request to model its bylaw on North Cowichan’s regulation. Bylaw 3716 is a nuisance bylaw regulating open burning and reducing smoke pollution and its impacts on human health, the CVRD states.

The bylaw allows open burning from March 15 through April 15, and from Oct. 15 through Nov. 15 only.

Fires must be at least 10 metres from property lines; mustn’t exceed two metres diameter, and two metres high; and may only occur during a ‘good’ ventilation index.

Campfires are allowed, but can’t be a nuisance.

Open-pile burning of land-clearing debris and stumps is banned across Cowichan.

That stuff can only be torched using an air-curtain or trench-burner, CVRD staff explains.

Burning of land clearing debris and stumps must also comply with the B.C. Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation and any applicable municipal bylaws.

One thousand dollars is the minimum fine for burning land-clearing debris illegally in the CVRD.

Burning of construction debris, or prohibited materials with land-clearing debris, is banned by B.C.’s open burning rules.

Those prohibited materials include tires, plastics, drywall, demolition waste, domestic waste, special and biomedical wastes, asphalt and its products, treated lumber, railway ties, manure, rubber, paints, tar paper, fuel and lubricant containers.

Burning prohibited materials can mean fines up to $200,000.

Breaking waste-disposal requirements under the Environmental Management Act can spell fines up to $1,000,000, or six months in jail, or both.

For more information, call the CVRD at  250-746-2561.

— with files from Nick Bekolay