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LETTER - Comox Valley Airshed Roundtable should not include an American-based organization

Dear editor,

Dear editor,

Okay. Let’s establish one thing, and that ‘thing’ is the ever-hopeful assumption I have that no one in the Comox Valley wants a U.S.-based organization calling the shots on their health, and in this case the air that we breathe to stay alive. Our air quality is simply too important for that.

So why on earth would you include the Hearth, Barbecue and Patio Association (HPBA), headquartered in Arlington, Virginia—with local affiliates who have been given their marketing orders and quotas— on our Airshed Roundtable?

The Roundtable was tasked with the goal of creating strategies and practical applications for improving our air quality. The only reason it was created is that there is an abundance of data, years of data, including local health data, that points to a need for change. The HPBA knew all of this prior to joining the Roundtable. Still, they joined. And their participation since then has created nothing but conflict, controversy, and delays. They are the fox in the chicken coop. Including the HPBA on the Airshed Roundtable is nothing more than an enlightening case study on how the philosophy of collaboration, when taken to an absurd level, dooms any and all initiatives.

The HPBA could make progressive changes to their product lines. There are numerous non-polluting products that create a wonderful ambiance that they could be selling. And perhaps that’s where we can do our part. After all, the main reason why products disappear is because people don’t buy them.

So just a reminder: Our air quality in the Comox Valley is a priority. Perhaps give it more thought. Savour it when it comes tumbling in off the ocean clean and fresh. And do whatever you can to protect it. Because more than anything else, it has a direct impact on your health and well being. We don’t eat all day, sleep all day, work all day or play all day. The only thing we do all day is breathe. And if you’re breathing in particulate matter from woodsmoke - all day, every day - the outcomes are not good.

Sherril Guthrie,

Comox Valley