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White Rock snuffs wood-burning stove

A wood-burning stove at the centre of numerous complaints in White Rock will be removed.
Neighbourhood complaints led White Rock council to support removing a wood-burning stove from this city-owned rental house.

A wood-burning stove at the centre of numerous complaints in White Rock will be removed, council has decided.

Neighbours of the Prospect Avenue home where the stove is located asked the city in October for relief from its pollution, submitting a 22-name petition calling for urgent action.

In a report presented to council last week, director of engineering and municipal operations Greg St. Louis recommends removal over replacing the stove with something that burns cleaner.

“Staff believes this would not prevent further nuisance complaints from the neighbours,” St. Louis writes, of installing a Environmental Protection Agency-certified or natural gas appliance in the city-owned home.

In a delegation prior to the decision, Mike Campbell, who lives “80 feet” from the home in question, told council that smoke from the building is such that he and his wife have had to move their home’s air intake, and they have to keep their windows closed.

He said an appeal for relief was first made in March, in the hopes of eliminating the problem before the cold weather arrived. Now, neighbours are into “the third winter of our discontent,” he said.

“There’s absolutely no reason to permit some residents to compromise the health of others,” he said. “Be a good neighbour and cut to the chase.”

Campbell also asked council to consider a local bylaw that prohibits wood-burning.

The option is one that St. Louis also suggested, in recommending that the city require all new wood-burning appliances be certified clean-burning.

In response to a question from Coun. Helen Fathers, St. Louis confirmed wood-burning complaints are not rampant in White Rock, and Mayor Wayne Baldwin agreed the issue hasn’t been pronounced.

“Quite frankly, I haven’t heard of any, other than what came up through this process and one other gentleman who wrote a letter,” he said.

The issue, however, is not unique to White Rock, St. Louis said, noting Metro Vancouver has been dealing with it “for years,” and is currently working with Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health authorities to analyze health effects. The study is expected complete next year, and St. Louis recommended council direct staff to review the findings at that time.

Council gave unanimous support to all of St. Louis’s recommendations.

The stove was to be removed within 30 days, at an estimated cost of $300.

Peace Arch News was unable to contact the resident using the wood-burning stove.



Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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