City council takes action on air quality

  • Aug. 31, 2016 2:58 p.m.

The City of Red Deer is taking action to improve air quality in the community.

Last year, the City learned Red Deer’s air quality was rated some of the poorest among Canadian municipalities.

Between 2011 and 2013, Red Deer failed to achieve Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards. The Red Deer air zone exceeded national levels both as measured for a 24-hour period and annual averages. The exceedances were measured at the Red Deer Riverside monitoring station.

“I know it was a shock for a lot of people to hear that Red Deer’s air quality was not meeting the standard because we have beautiful blue skies and we look out on a day like today and it looks pretty beautiful out there, so it is hard for us to imagine that we have poor air quality – we don’t see the smog,” said Nancy Hackett, environmental initiatives supervisor for the City of Red Deer. “It’s news no one would like to have – that we have poor air quality – but I think it’s been really positive since then about how we move forward and how we improve our air quality.”

This past April the Alberta Government released the Red Deer Area Fine Particulate Matter Response Plan. In May, the Environmental Advisory Committee passed a resolution recommending actions the City can take to improve air quality in Red Deer.

“Fine Particulate Matter are bits in the air that can be in solid or liquid form that are less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter – so that is smaller than a human hair,” said Hackett. “They can’t be seen but they can lodge in your lungs or they can create environmental damage for ecology and that is why they are called fine.

“They pose a large health and environmental risk and both man-made and natural sources can contribute to that – dust can contribute to that, or forest fire smoke, but also emissions from our vehicles, exhaust from our home heating chimneys and things like that.”

On Monday, council voted in favour of adding three actions to the Environmental Master Plan which is set to commence in 2017 in regards to improving the community’s air quality. Those actions include increased public education on ways to improve air quality, introducing a tree planting policy and to plant additional trees within the City to increase the density of trees.

Currently they City does not have a policy in terms of how many trees they are going to plant in a year for environmental targets. “This policy would look at if we want to clean our air using trees, than how many trees do we need to be planting in a year, where, and what kind of species,” said Hackett.

City council voted in favour of including the three proposed actions into next year’s Environmental Master Plan.

Councillor Paul Harris was absent.

Just Posted

City council wraps up operational budget talks with a 2.15% municipal tax hike

Budget talks completed after eight days of deliberations

Reflecting on the impact of dementia in a loved one

January is Alzheimer Awareness Month

Red Deerians can weigh in on proposed Bighorn Country investment tonight

Telephone town hall takes place 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Vibrant colours highlight newest exhibit at The Hub

‘Chaos to Calm’ by Cathy Fee runs through to the end of March

Neonatal nurse practitioner joins NICU care team

Babies requiring specialized care at Red Deer Hospital have extra set of hands caring for them

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

New market opens in downtown Ponoka

Makkinga Market had a soft opening showcasing many of the different foods in store

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

John Savage pleads guilty to manslaughter

Sentenced to 7 years for Stettler murder

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

UPDATED UCP MLA cries foul after brick thrown through office window

UPDATED St. Paul MLA Dave Hanson says ‘Over-the-top NDP rhetoric’ not based in reality

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Most Read