castlegar news, december 12, 2013

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December 12, 2013 edition of the Castlegar News


  • Thursday, December 12, 2013 Vol.10 Issue 50Breaking news at

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    Radon bylaw progressing with glacial speedFurther to an item

    touched upon in the coun-cil briefs of last weeks Cas-tlegar News, an issue relat-ing to a dangerous natural hazard appears to be lan-guishing in a bureaucratic holding pattern.

    e issue is radon gas mitigation being built in to the provincial building code, so it may be applied

    locally.At the core of the issue

    are a couple of key points the fact that Castlegar:

    has radon levels that are among the highest in the province, and,

    is home to a knowl-edgeable and outspoken advocate for boosted safe-guards to deal with the carcinogenic gas.

    Dana Schmidt is the man who has acquired a wealth of data on the topic

    and pushed hard for reg-ulations to help reduce the risk of the invisible, tasteless, odourless gas. He is the driving force be-hind the Donna Schmidt Memorial Lung Cancer Society, an entity formed to honour his spouse who passed away in 2009.

    e society has part-nered with the City of Castlegar to provide hun-dreds of free long-term radon testing units.

    Well known steps may be taken to reduce radon risk during the construc-tion of homes and larger buildings, and retro tting of existing structures may also be done, although more expensive and time consuming.

    ose looking for a provincial building bylaw have found support in Castlegar, if not at higher levels.

    e latest installment

    in the ongoing issue was at the council meeting of Dec. 2, 2013, when coun-cil received for informa-tion the most recent com-munication on the matter from Rich Coleman, Min-ister Responsible for Housing and Deputy Pre-mier.

    e letter was in re-sponse to a message from Phil Markin...

    Your HometownRealtorCarmen Harris

    JIM SINCLAIRCastlegar News Editor

    Dana Schmidt works at radon (retro) mitigation in the home of a single Castlegar mom. The effort was a Rotary-initiated action in early 2013.Wayne Groutage

    Continued on P. A2

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    Vol.10 Issue 50

    Pass Creek party makes Pass Creek party makes Pass Creek party makes Pass Creek party makes winter worthwhilewinter worthwhilewinter worthwhilewinter worthwhilewinter worthwhileSee Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19See Pages A18 & A19

    NEWS Phil (PJ) Pozneko (250)

    Merry ChristmasMerry Christmas

  • A2 Thursday, December 12, 2013 Castlegar News

    ...Castlegars director of Development Services this past July.

    Markins letter had re-as-serted points aiming to add a sense of urgency to the matter of building bylaw adjustment.

    Uniformity, as it happens, is what Minister Coleman cites as a reason not to draft a bylaw that would apply to regions of the province where radon is not such a big concern.

    Here is a portion of Cole-mans response to Mr. Mar-kins letter:

    The Province continues to pursue the objective of a uniform British Columbia Building Code, which pro-vides the building industry with the most effective and efficient regulatory system

    while protecting the public interest in health and safe-ty. For this reason I do not approve your request, as additional construction re-quirements made by local bylaw are contrary to this objective.

    The Minister, however, did go on to invite the City of Castlegar to participate in a joint government/BC Lung Association mitiga-tion pilot project.

    The pilot project will provide data that will allow us to determine if modifi-cations are required to the minimum construction standards for radon and what they should be, stated the Minister.

    I was very disappointed in the ministers response, Dana Schmidt told the Cas-tlegar News on December 9 in an email, as he is well

    aware that the current pro-vincial standards for radon building codes are not uni-form across the province, with major portions of the province exempt from the current building codes re-lated to radon mitigation because of low geological potential for radon genera-tion.

    Further, Schmidt de-clared, it seems ironic that when a community with extremely high radon potential asks for building codes standards that are af-fordable and provide for ac-tual improvements in radon levels in homes, he (Minis-ter Coleman) cites the need for uniformity as his reason for denial.

    However, I do agree that the best outcome would be for all of the province with high radon potential to en-

    act provisions similar to the Castlegar proposed by-law. The data provided by the Donna Schmidt Lung Cancer Prevention Society clearly demonstrates the high level of radon present in new homes in Castlegar.

    Finishing on a proactive note, Schmidts email re-lated, In the meantime, I would encourage all Castle-gar residents and those in the construction industry to provide radon resistant construction techniques.

    The Donna Schmidt Lung Cancer Prevention Society continues to pro-vide long term radon de-tectors so our citizens can determine if the air in their homes has acceptable lev-els of radon and these are distributed at Golder As-sociates office on Columbia Avenue.

    Continued from P. A1

    Effort continues toward radon bylaw

    Completion of the tod-dler playground at Kinsmen Park is in sight, and a call is out to the public to help make it happen. A Toonies for Tots donation jar cam-paign is being launched this month to help raise funds for the project. The addition of a fire engine to promote imaginative play will com-plement the rescue theme of the smaller play pieces installed last spring. Safe, age-appropriate playground equipment for toddlers and pre-schoolers is important to support healthy, out-door activity and encour-age young families to spend time at Kinsmen Park. Its a perfect location, with its

    proximity to the waterpark and the library.

    We want to have the playground ready for spring, so our last fundrais-ing push is on, says Arlee

    Venier, chair of the Castle-gar Early Childhood Ad-visory Council (CECAC). With the support of local businesses, the campaign will help bring in cash do-

    nations and raise awareness for individuals who wish to make larger tax deductible contributions.

    The CECAC has raised over 75 per cent of the funds needed to complete the project, with the sup-port of the City of Castle-gar, Columbia Basin Trust, Kootenay Savings Cred-it Union, Heritage Credit Union, West Kootenay Toy Run Association, RDCK Area I, and individual do-nors.

    Look for the donation jars at the library and local businesses.

    To make a tax deductible contribution, or to host a donation jar at your busi-ness site, call Penny Tees at 250-226-7605.

    Treat a tot with a toonie or two, or threeSubmitted

    Castlegar Early Childhood Advisory Council launches cam-paign to raise funds for a fire engine addition to the tod-dler playground at Kinsmen Park. From left to right, Penny Tees, Alana Murdoch, Arlee Venier, Laurie Watson, Michelle Pierce and Joanne McMeekin. Submitted

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