RDOS eyes asbestos

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen would like to see regulations around asbestos removal beefed-up.

Staff brought a proposal to the district's environment and infrastructure committee that, if approved by the RDOS board, will bring a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities asking for a certification and licensing system for those handling asbestos.

"We've seen very good contractors that do this work and we've seen contractors that don't do this work," said an RDOS staffer. "We've seen a very big difference between what the qualifications are for these groups, and when we look at some of the qualifications, they may not meet the standards put forward by WorkSafeBC. These are concerns for us as landfills that deal with materials on a daily basis, also for homeowners."

He added that soil contaminants have much stricter regulations than hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead paint.

The staff proposal passed a vote from the committee, but not without some protest from some of the smaller communities.

"This is going to add another level of cost to any homeowner or anybody that wants to get it done," Electoral Area H director Bob Coyne said. "In our community there's only three contractors that would do demolition work, and to put another level of cost onto that contractor to go and become certified, it's not going to happen in our area.

"It's going to become another illegal service that's going on."

Coyne said he would promote education, but he and other directors in smaller communities said the addition of more hoops for contractors to jump through could cause more damage.

"You put the price up higher and higher ... you will find demolition stuff in bushes," Electoral Area G director Elef Christensen said.

The City of Penticton recently decided to look at its own processes on providing demolition permits following the teardown of a building on Van Horne Street that proceeded without proper asbestos removal.


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