Firewood industry fuming over potential fireplace restrictions
'Nobody had any inkling that this was going on at all,' says wood cutter Brian Murray
Members of the firewood industry say they should be consulted about potential changes to the use of indoor burning devices in the Halifax region.
Brian Murray owns and operates Blue Barn Farms on the Hammonds Plains Road. It's had a wood-cutting business for 150 years.
"Nobody had any inkling that this was going on at all," said Murray. "The producers and the burners should be consulted."
The Halifax region has a bylaw for outdoor open-air burning, but the municipality has no rules for indoor devices.
Officials with the municipality's fire, planning and legal departments have been working on a report since February 2016, which is when a petition was submitted with 26 names. The petition requested a nuisance smoke bylaw to reduce the negative impact from indoor burning appliances.
People have raised concerns about the impact of wood smoke on their health. The Canadian Lung Association says wood smoke can trigger respiratory conditions such as asthma and recommends wood not be burned in residential areas.
Murray says 90 per cent of the problems can be addressed through education.
"If you have a stove that burns efficiently, and you use dry wood and don't burn garbage, you won't have [nearly as many] issues," said Murray.
A Bedford man who calls himself a "lifelong wood burner" agrees with Murray. In an email to CBC News, Paul Raven said he's astounded to see people storing their firewood outside uncovered and exposed to the elements.
"It would be a great misfortune to see excessive regulations applied without addressing the actual problem: educating people about the basics," he wrote.
Cleaner burning stoves are coming
The co-owner of a company that sells wood stoves points out there are new emission standards coming into place that will ensure less smoke is emitted.
"There won't be any stoves sold in Canada that will produce more than 2.5 grams of soot an hour after 2020," said George Hill, co-owner of Ultimate Home Comfort in Bayers Lake. "That's a really clean burn."
Murray adds that a number of people rely on wood to keep their home heating bills down and there could be serious consequences if indoor wood-burning devices are restricted or banned.
"If people could not burn wood, it's possible they would be selling their houses because it's not economical to stay in their homes anymore," said Murray.
Murray suggests people contact their councillor if they have any concerns about potential new rules for indoor wood-burning devices.