North Saanich will encourage but not force residents to burn outdoor waste on days with good venting index. (Black Press Media File)

North Saanich will encourage but not force residents to burn outdoor waste on days with good venting index. (Black Press Media File)

North Saanich fires up comprehensive strategy report on outdoor burning, green waste disposal

North Saanich to encourage but not require residents to burn only on days with good venting index

North Saanich will encourage but not force residents to burn outdoor waste on days with good venting index.

All members of council (minus the absent Couns. Murray Weisberger and Jack McClintock) asked staff to post such language on the municipality’s website. The measure was among several council approved as part of a notice of motion from Mayor Geoff Orr to help resolve the controversial and related subjects of outdoor burning and green waste disposal.

The language in the notice of motion specifically calls on the staff to add the daily venting index value for morning and afternoon to the district’s online outdoor burning information “in a manner similar” to sites such as the Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department and Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD). Council did not specify a duration for how long the venting index would remain on the website

“If you have to burn, only burn when the venting index is rated Good, not Fair or Poor,” reads the CVRD website.

This wording departs from a staff report, which called on councillors to permit outdoor burning on only days with a good venting index.

RELATED: North Saanich defers key questions around open burning

While the recommendation to limit outdoor burning to days with a good venting index remained on the table when council met Nov. 23 after having deferred it the previous week, its prospects were uncertain as council remains divided, with members occupying a range of positions. Similar comments also apply to plans to double the cost of a burning permit to $50.

Orr advertised his motion as a way to move forward with a high level focus on the municipality’s broader principles rather than the means themselves when it comes to the disposal of green waste. In this comments, Orr suggested that this focus on the means has contributed to the challenges in finding a solution that enjoys support within the community.

The notice of motion calls on staff to develop a green waste disposal strategy to determine what it calls the “most cost-effective and fair manner” of managing green waste disposal for properties falling into various categories on the premise that “decisions related to outdoor burning and green waste facility operations are interrelated.”

That strategy (with terms of reference, scope, objectives, timeline, and budget still to be determined) would examine “disposal alternatives such as outdoor burning, green waste facility and seasonal pickup service” while keeping in mind the municipality’s guiding principles and suggested timeline.

Rebecca Penz, the municipality’s communications manager, said the scope of the pending staff report “may or may not include permit fees or the venting index.”


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