Chilliwack – To minimize risk to air quality and human health, the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy adopted a new Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. On February 2, 2021, Council introduced the City’s updated Open Burning Bylaw, to align with the provincial regulation.

Under the City’s updated bylaw, open burning will only be permitted during spring or fall burning seasons, with a valid burning permit, on days the ventilation index is “good”, and between 7 am and 5 pm, as opposed to the previous bylaw, which permitted burning on “fair” or “good’ ventilation index days, between 7 am and 10 pm. In addition to these changes, the burning permit fee, last updated in 2008, will rise from $25 to $35, to help offset the cost of administering permits and responding to burning complaints.

The spring burning season will remain from March 1 through April 30 and the fall season from October 1 through November 30. Burning is only permitted on agricultural or rural properties, and the material to be burned must originate from the same property.

“This bylaw is a step towards protecting our airshed and our respiratory health, but it’s important that we continue to do more,” said Mayor Popove. “Anyone who can chip, compost, or bring their materials to the Green Depot instead of burning should be doing so, for the good of our community.”

Other changes to the bylaw include larger setbacks, such as increasing the setback distance from neighbouring residences and businesses from 15 metres to 100 metres, as well as an expanded list of materials prohibited from burning and expanded measures to prevent or address excessive smoke. 

Concurrent revisions to the Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw and the Municipal Ticket Information Bylaw will include higher penalties for more significant infractions, such as burning without a permit, burning prohibited/hazardous material, or burning in a manner that produces significant smoke.

For more information about the new bylaw requirements, visit chilliwack.com/burning.  Residents may also apply online for a burning permit for spring burning season at this link, starting March 1.

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