• John Jantak

New by-law would require Ste. Anne’s homeowners to upgrade wood-burning devices


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Ste. Anne’s council will hold a public consultation meeting regarding a proposed new by-law aimed at getting all residents with a wood-burning fireplace or stove to upgrade their devices within the next five years. The meeting will be held at the Harpell Centre tentatively on Thursday, June 27 at 6 p.m.

Public consultation meeting tentatively set for June 27 at 6 p.m.

The City of Ste. Anne de Bellevue is considering adopting a new by-law that would require all residents with a fireplace or a wood-burning stove to have them replaced with newer lower-emission models within the next five years.

The proposal was revealed during question period at the Monday evening council meeting on June 10. Two residents asked whether the city would also include a grandfather clause in the by-law that would exempt homeowners from having to make the proposed upgrades and keep their current fireplaces and stoves intact.

Mandatory upgrades

The residents said the mandatory upgrades could cause financial difficulties for seniors and other citizens living on fixed incomes. Mayor Paola Hawa said everyone with a wood-burning device will have to comply with the new regulation if it is adopted. She said the five year implementation period is meant to ease the cost of the conversion or to get a homeowner to consider another heating option.

The upgrade is meant to improve air quality during the winter in both the north and south sectors of the city and to reduce the amount of fine particles that are released into the atmosphere, said Hawa. Ste. Anne’s is using the same guidelines that have been adopted by the city of Montreal and other West Island municipalities.

City lags behind other municipalities

Hawa said the city also did an analysis of West Island municipalities and discovered Ste. Anne’s standards are lagging in terms of the amount of particulate emitted into the air compared to other cities.

“We’re way behind in terms of our requirements. We’re at 4.5 per hour right now and we need to be at 2.5 which is pretty much the norm. We’re just playing catch-up at this point. At one point we were the most advanced. I don’t know how we fell behind but we did,” Hawa told The Journal.

No border for air quality

It’s impractical to try to gage the quality of the air within the city exclusively, said Hawa. “Air travels. There’s no such thing as a border. When you see that the Island of Montreal is sometimes under a smog alert, it’s not just over the Plateau Mont-Royal or Rosemont. It’s over the entire island,” Hawa added.

“When we pollute, that air goes in a different direction and falls on top of somebody else. We’re all interconnected. It’s not something that we can just say my little spot isn’t going to have an effect elsewhere. We all have to work together to be a part of the solution,” said Hawa.

She added the smoke emitted by wood-burning devices do bother some people, especially those with respiratory ailments such as asthma, particularly in the congested south sector of the city. “In a tight place like the village you feel it right away. I get emails from people saying they can’t open their window because the next door neighbour has the fireplace going all the time,” said the mayor.

Weaning people off wood-burning devices

Hawa realizes the proposed by-law is not going to be very popular.

“I’m not tickled pink about the idea but it needs to be done. We want to slowly wean people off fireplaces and wood-burning stoves as their primary heat source,” she said.

The city will hold a public consultation meeting regarding the proposed new wood-burning device by-law. It is tentatively scheduled for Thursday June 27, 6 p.m. at the Harpell Centre.

“We want people to come in and share their opinions with us,” said Hawa.

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