Neighbours’ feud fuels firepit bylaw

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Neighbours’ feud fuels firepit bylaw

Postby Wilberforce » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:11 pm

Sept. 6, 1994: Neighbours’ feud fuels firepit bylaw

By Chris Zdeb, Edmonton Journal September 6, 2014

Susan Copeland of Bylaw Community Relations shows how damp grass adds to the smoke of a backyard firepit
in this 2008 photo.
Photograph by: John Lucas , Edmonton Journal

Two rookie city councillors, Scott McKeen and Bev Esslinger, recently asked city administration for a report on how backyard fire pits are affecting air quality for their neighbours.

Both had been getting complaints all summer from constituents whose neighbours have frequent backyard fires. They’re from residents with asthma and other chronic health conditions.

Residents are already required to burn clean wood. Esslinger suggested limiting the amount of time the fires can burn. McKeen suggested some kind of permit system.

“This issue is often portrayed as private property rights, freedom to do what I want on my yard,” he said. “But the unfortunate part is that it’s like noise, it drifts off your private property.”

McKeen tackled the burning issue 20 years ago from a different angle as a Journal city hall reporter.

He wrote a story then about Margaret Saunter, a longtime north-side resident, who had been scrapping with her neighbour for years over the smoke drifting onto her property from her neighbour’s backyard fireplace. She said she suffered the typical discomfort of someone downwind from a campfire, including eye and lung irritation.

“I’ve actually phoned the fire department to blow smoke out of my house,” she told McKeen, demanding something be done about the issue.

“I want a smoke-free home,” said Saunter, who wondered about the toll the smoke was taking on her health.

Her efforts had already resulted in a draft bylaw regulating backyard fires, and focused attention on the scientific community’s concern about the health impact of wood smoke.

Their alarm centred around PM-10s, fine-particle contaminates of 10 microns and smaller, tiny enough to be inhaled into the lungs. The particles are created when wood is burned.

Deputy fire chief Spence Sample said there had been a long-standing and popular belief that it was illegal to have a backyard fire in Edmonton without a permit — a myth that discouraged many residents from having one.

Fire pits are now regulated under the Community Standards Bylaw.

City administration is expected to report back to council near the end of November about the impact fire pits are having on neighbours’ air quality.

To read more stories from the series This Day in Journal History, go to
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

source ... story.html
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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