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Burning Bylaw Review

The ACRD is introducing burning regulations for properties within the six ACRD Electoral Areas: Bamfield, Beaufort, Long Beach, Sproat Lake, Beaver Creek & Cherry Creek:

Thank you to those that provided your input to ACRD staff and Directors and to those that participated in the online burning regulations public survey. At their June 9, 2021 meeting, the ACRD Board received a report detailing the public and agency input received on the proposed regulations through the public engagement program conducted over spring 2021. The engagement included the online survey, to which the Regional District received 919 public responses, a dedicated ACRD Burning Regulation webpage to share information, social media engagement, agency referrals to relevant public health and air quality agencies, Advisory Planning Commissions and the Agricultural Development Committee.

ACRD staff have compiled the public input received and have presented reports and amended bylaws to the Alberni Valley Air Quality Council, the ACRD Electoral Area Directors Committee and the ACRD Board of Directors. On September 22, 2021, the ACRD Board gave three readings to amended Bylaws R1030 and R1032 and directed staff to conduct a public communication plan in conjunction with the Board considering the bylaws for adoption in October 2021.

Bylaw R1030: Solid-Fuel Burning Appliance Emission Regulation Bylaw (Download PDF)

The bylaw will regulate wood burning appliances within the ACRD. The bylaw will require that any new installed solid-fuel burning appliance conforms to the CSA/EPA Standard and require that any existing solid-fuel burning appliance that does not conform to the CSA/EPA Standard be permanently disconnected and removed by July 1, 2024. The bylaw would take effect November 1, 2021.

Bylaw R1032: Outdoor Burning Smoke Control Regulation Bylaw (Download PDF)

The bylaw will regulate open burning within each of the six Electoral Areas and includes varying regulations for campfires, domestic backyard open fires and larger land-clearing open fires.

The bylaw includes provisions for atmospheric venting; time of year and time of day; size of fires; number of fires on a parcel of land; setbacks from combustible materials, buildings and property lines; permitted burning materials; time limited smoke-release periods; establishment of a fuel break; competent supervision; safety equipment; and compliance with provincial and federal regulations. Open burning would be permitted only when the ventilation index is 'good' and between March 1st to April 30th and September 15th to November 15th, unless otherwise prohibited by the Province.

The bylaw provides exemptions for cooking fires contained within barbeques and cooking appliances, fires maintained by fire services personnel and fires relating to "normal farm practices" and forest practices" under specific circumstances as defined by relevant provincial legislation. The bylaw would take effect November 1, 2021.

Why is the ACRD proposing new burning bylaws?

Open burning and wood burning for residential heat can negatively affect air quality in our communities, leading to both short term and long term health effects for our residents. The Port Alberni Air Quality Council (AQC) is a multi-stakeholder group that is working collaboratively to improve air quality within the region. The AQC has focused attention on the need for burning regulations within the region to better control the emission of smoke and particulate matter from burning in the rural areas. Presently, there are no comprehensive open burning or woodstove burning bylaws in place in the rural areas of the ACRD.

Island Health and the Ministry of Environment have continuously called for improved regulation of open burning within the region. The Province adopted the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation (OBSCR) in September 2019, which governs the burning of vegetative material associated with land clearing, forestry operations and agriculture but exempts smaller-scale backyard burning of smaller vegetation. The City of Port Alberni, District of Tofino and District of Ucluelet each have regulations in place for outdoor burning and woodstove appliances but wood smoke does not stop at municipal boundaries. There are real health impacts relating to poor air quality and a collaborative, regional approach is required in order to effectively respond to air quality concerns from burning in the ACRD.

Air Quality & Burning Regulation Resources

Communication Plan

On September 22, 2021, the Board directed staff to conduct a communication plan to educate the public about the burning regulations. The goal of the communication plan would be to inform the public of the new regulations and build knowledge within the region about the need for burning restrictions and the benefits to the communities in the region. The communication plan launched in October 2021 and involves notices mailed to ACRD households, newspaper advertisements and social media engagement highlighting the information provided on the ACRD Burning Bylaw Review webpage. The bylaws have a proposed effective date of November 1, 2021 and staff expect that the Board will consider Bylaw R1030 and R1032 for adoption in October 2021.

Contact Us

ACRD Planning Department E: planning@acrd.bc.ca | P: 250-720-2700

Let's work together on improving air quality in our region!

Staff reports sent to ACRD Board