City failing on the healthy air issue

City failing on the healthy air issue

Letter by Robert Smith, printed in the Lethbridge Herald ( Letters – March 9, 2010

Cathy Baiton has raised an issue that needs to be re-examined by the city; namely, the right to breathe clean air.

The present bylaws are not sufficient to ensure this right.  We have extensive anti-smoking laws, yet homeowners can pollute the neighbourhood air with impunity.  This is inconsistent. Smoke is smoke, whatever its source.  It’s offensive and it’s toxic.

There is no reason I should be forced to breathe smoke inside my own house.  If you complain to the city, they will come and look at the offending chimney, and tell you that with a temperature inversion (frequent here, it seems), the smoke can go down, not up.  It can then be drawn into nearby houses through closed windows or the furnace vent.

Wood fireplaces and fire pits have no place in an urban environment, and more and more people recognize this.  The city seems to aspire to be a “green” city (witness the Sunridge subdivision).  It has a choice on this issue, to lead, or be dragged into the inevitable future.

Robert Smith, Lethbridge