PenderBlog From The Pender Islands Of Canada

April 16, 2010

Pilot project redux…

Filed under: Commentary — Jocko @ 8:29 pm

Re: Pender Island Woody Debris and Yard Brush Drop-off Event Pilot Project

A pilot project to follow up the pilot project.

From Mike Aston:

I’ve mulled this one over for a little while. It’s a nice idea in principle, but do I recall a recent attempt at a similar thing, which overwhelmed the CRD not so long ago? That particular pilot project was free to the public (although paid for from taxes), and yard waste was collected from the curbside, which is much more convenient. However, the chipper broke, then the yard waste sat by the roadside for weeks, before eventually being cleared up. The scheme appeared to have dealt with the yard waste in the end, but I imagine it was likely a financial disaster and therefore not particularly viable for a small, spread-out community.

This latest reincarnation of the chipper project, on the other hand, will cost people to use (between $5 and $20, depending on vehicle In addition to our taxes), so this might have an effect on its popularity. This time, any waste will need to be delivered to the CRD designated site. I think this is likely to lead to a neutral, or perhaps even negative, environmental impact when fossil fuel use, pollution, additional road use and hazards are taken into account.

The best route, in my opinion, is for yard waste to be dealt with on site, at source: Keep it local, compost it; salvage wood for heating/energy. Dry and burn any remaining invasive waste. This, of course, must be done safely and responsibly. A small hot fire in a suitable incinerator can work wonders while producing very little smoke. Additionally, the subsequent ash can be used as a fertilizer, natural pesticide or soil supplement in many cases (although not for acid-loving plants or potatoes).

I cannot understand why (in the words of the CRD “press release” email circulated to interested parties):

“It’s  that the CRD gets a good turn-out for BOTH days of the event so it can be established as a regular occurance on Pender and the other SGI communities.”

I wonder why it is “critically important”. Sounds like this ‘pilot project’ has already been deemed too important to fail, regardless of how successful it is. Call me cynical, but is this a prelude to being able to introduce a burning ban? This issue has surfaced before, but went away after public rumblings.
Burning is one of the most natural ways to control and regenerate. Wood-fires and domestic yard-waste burning are a drop in the ocean, emissions-wise, compared to the tens of thousands of natural wild-fires each year all over the world. So please don’t ban burning, but by all means try to improve it, restrict it at dangerous times of the year, promote the use of better incinerators, better safety, better education (or is it that we simply can’t be trusted?)

If indeed there is a poor turnout at this chipper event, then that would suggest it might not be needed, or that the cost is unreasonable. Knowing that is “critically important”, and at that point only can a decision about the project’s future be made because taxpayer’s money is being spent. However, if the chipper event is a resounding success, cost-neutral to the tax-payer and doesn’t preface a burning ban, then it will get my congratulations and full support.

Then I guess I’ll have to eat my hat as well!

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1 Comment »

  1. Burning is the best way. chipping and letting it break down put the same amount of stuff in the air only at a slower rate. Burning shouldn’t be banned.

    Comment by peter norris — April 21, 2010 @ 6:14 am

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