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No such thing as ‘junk’ at Eddie’s pit Eddie Weismiller can find a use for just about anything MARTHA PERKINS EDITOR

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here are, it is true, lots of old cars scattered around Ed Weismiller’s pit. There’s a ‘55 Ford Crown Victoria, a ‘66 Ford Fairlane, a T-Bird, a convertible Olds and even an old school bus, among several others. Some are running and others have plants growing through the windows. The pit is not the neatest or prettiest of places. It would not get the Good Housekeeping seal of approval and to many people these old cars are junk, salvage, worthless. Indeed, their previous owners brought them here because they thought there was no point in trying to sell them. To Weismiller, however, these old cars are projects that will one day be worth a few thousand dollars each. “See that boat,” he says, pointing to an abandoned pleasurecraft. The previous owner thought it was garbage. Weismiller is going to fix it up and sell it. “What’s wrong with it? That skidder over there sat in someone’s yard. I fixed it up and it’s

Eddie Weismiller is the “go-to guy” on Bowen Island when it comes to getting rid of things people don’t want any more, such as stumps and tree-fall. He’s willing to work with the municipality to get his pit zoned industrial as part of the OCP update. Martha Perkins photos going to Squamish [as a working machine].” Pointing to an old engineless truck, he says that when he takes the engine off another truck and installs it, the truck will be worth $3,500. “That Ford convertible,” he says, pointing to another wreck, “was in an accident and ICBC didn’t want it. I can rebuild it and re-register it. That ‘junk’ to me is worth money.”

Don’t forget to add the

FOOD BANK as a regular item to your grocery list

Bob Rae

Bob Rae

Dan Veniez

Dan Veniez

We invite you for an informal conversation with the Honourable Bob Rae, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre and Dan Veniez, federal Liberal candidate for West VancouverSunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country. Monday, August 9, 2010

7:30am to 8:45am, St. David’s United Church 1525 Taylor Way, West Vancouver Located north of Upper Levels Hwy. 1 exit 13 (Access parking lot at back of church from Taylor Way to Westcott Rd. Enter church from parking lot.) Complimentary refreshments will be available.

Drop off located at The United Church

He has an encyclopedic memory of everything that’s on the 20-acre property so that if you said you needed something to fix an old backhoe, he’d likely be able to go directly to a corner of the property and find just the perfect thing. On the day of the Undercurrent’s visit, his mechanic Mike Netzlaw was using a blow torch to separate pieces of junk metal. “It saves money and it saves the environment,” Netzlaw says when asked why he’s bothering. Why not just throw it out or sell it for scrap? “If you’ve got material,” he says, “you might as well use it. Otherwise you have to buy more.” At Weismiller’s pit, nothing is garbage. His pit is more like the ultimate in recycling depots, reducing the amount of material that has to be shipped off the island. That’s why he bristles at any accusation that he, or the pit, is harming the environment. Not only does he have to follow every municipal, regional and provincial rule governing what he does at the pit, but he says he also cares too much for Bowen’s natural beauty to do anything to damage it.

To All Bowen Island Residents CNIB would like to invite you to a celebration in honour of our many years of running camps at Bowen Lodge by the Sea. This is CNIB’s last summer on Bowen Island. Next year, we will hold our camp programs at Zajac Ranch near Mission. www.zajacranch.com

Sunday August 15, 2010 • 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the CNIB Bowen Lodge by the Sea, 380 Cardena Road, Bowen Island. Food and refreshments will be provided.

This family-friendly event will include activities for children. CNIB BC Yukon Division’s Executive Director, John Mulka will speak at a short ceremony at 2:00 p.m..

RSVP to bowen.farewell@cnib.ca by August 6. Indicate your name, and the number of adults & children who will accompany you.

www.danveniez.ca

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU THERE!

“I’m not that type of guy,” he says when asked about complaints that he’s burning things that shouldn’t be burnt or storing raw sewage from people’s septic tanks. (Those accusations were made by neighbours at a council meeting in the spring.) “Do you smell any sewage,” he says, responding to one of the accusations. “Do you see any sofas in my burn pile?” The answer to both questions is no. It’s only since a new neighbourhood was created next to his property that he’s had complaints, he says. Most Islanders support what he’s doing at the pit, he says. The pit was a pit when he bought the land about 30 years ago. It’s long been the island’s main source of rock and gravel. When he first bought it, however, the land was not zoned. When the municipality was created, it somehow got zoned rural, even though the pit was in operation at the time. Now, to satisfy council’s concerns, he’s going through the rezoning process to allow industrial uses. continued, PAGE 5


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Pit has to go through rezoning process continued from PAGE 4 Mayor Bob Turner recently toured the pit for the first time, accompanied by environmental consultant Alan Whitehead. “I wanted to see it and get a sense of what Ed is doing up there. It looked much better than I expected,” Turner says. “The thing I was particularly interested in is how water drains off the property. He is on a high bench above Bowen Brook, which is the main stream that feeds into Grafton Lake that provides us with drinking water. It’s essential that water quality be maintained.” Weismiller has a system of wetlands that absorb nutrients, as well as other approved

measures to reduce the risk of runoff. The updated Official Community Plan identifies parts of the pit as industrial, and, if passed, opens the door to the rezoning. “We’re obligated by the local government act to zone some lands industrial,” says Turner. “Now it needs to go to the public.” As part of the rezoning, Wesimiller will have to provide an environmental management plan “that gives the community the assurance that our water quality is protected,” Turner says. There will also have to be measures to mitigate traffic and noise of vehicles traversing the very steep hill to the pit. Weismiller is addressing the

new rules against burning wood waste. “It’s going to happen; I realize it’s coming,” he says about the policies from all levels of government that will make it harder and more expensive to burn wood waste. “It gets tougher every year. You have to do stuff you never did before. Next year I’ll have to pay to have someone come up and take samples of the smoke [from his annual burn.] What will that cost?” He’s already invested in an air exchanger that blows air into the burn pit, making the fire burn at a higher heat and also causing most of the smoke to roll back into the fire, minimizing the amount of pollution.

But he stresses that he’s never broken any rules. He has permits for everything he’s done and has regular inspections of his property, often without warning, to make sure he’s conforming to the rules. As the municipality drafts its own policies about where and how burning can be allowed on the island, Weismiller says he doesn’t care where it’s done but says it’s essential that it still be allowed in some form. If done properly, burning can have the least environmental impact. A tree stump that rots in the forest over the next 50 years will produce the same amount of carbon as a tree that is burned in five hours. It only has so much carbon in it; burning doesn’t create more. Burying wood waste is “the worst thing you can do,” Weismiller says. It emits gases that can get trapped under the ground. As well, if you build on land that’s got buried tree stumps underneath, when those stumps rot they undermine the ground’s stability. “It always comes back to haunt you.” As to chipping it, a chipper that can handle the stumps on Bowen is a million dollars. “I can’t afford it and they break down all the time.” Wood chips left on their own leach toxins that are not good for the environment. Wood burned with his heat exchanger releases fewer pollutants, he says. He agrees with the concept of mixing one part charcoal from

burnt wood waste with two parts soil to make excellent topsoil. Turner says the municipality is working to develop a green compost facility to divert the forest waste into an alternative form of waste. This facility might be privately run, perhaps at Weismiller’s pit, or be a joint venture with the municipality. Staff is working out a strategy. During the Undercurrent’s tour, Louise McIntosh of Bowen Waste drives up to the pit’s garage to have a small problem with the large dump truck fixed. As she’s leaving, she tells a story. Bowen Waste was called to remove two large stumps from a property. A young family’s house was at risk of failing because the footings had let go. An engineer had told them that to fix the problem they needed to dig up and remove two stumps. If those stumps had to be trucked to a depot in Langley, it would have cost thousands of dollars. “What can you afford when you’re a young family and your house is falling down? “It was an emergency so Ed let us bring the stumps here,” McIntosh says. (Weismiller has said that until he knows he can get permission for next year’s burn, he doesn’t want to accept more wood waste.) McIntosh says that if the stumps are taken off island, “I’m adding more carbon by doing the transport. It’s a fine balance. You have to take care of stuff in your own back yard.”

B O W E N I S L A N D M U N I C I PA L I T Y

JUST RELEASED! The Bowen Island Municipality (BIM) 2009 Annual Report is now available for viewing. The report includes: • audited financial statements for 2009 • permissive tax exemptions provided in 2009 • department overviews • as well as reporting on 2009 objectives, and objectives for 2010 and beyond.

ABove: Mike Netzlaw says why throw something out when you can take it apart and use it somewhere else?

We invite you to review the report and provide feedback on its contents. BIM Council will consider the Annual Report at their Regular Council meeting on Monday, September 13, beginning at 7:15 p.m. in Council Chambers. This meeting is your opportunity to ask questions or make submissions on any aspect of the report.

At right: One person’s junker is Eddie Weismiller’s next project. He takes vehicles that ICBC has written off and either uses them for parts or refurbishes them for resale.

To download a copy of the 2009 BIM Annual Report, or to view it online, please visit our website at www.bimbc.ca. In order to minimize costs and save paper, we are printing few hard copies of the document. A limited number of the documents will be available for viewing at Municipal Hall and in the Bowen Island Public Library.

B O W E N I S L A N D M U N I C I PA L I T Y

B O W E N I S L A N D M U N I C I PA L I T Y

OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN

GRANTS-IN-AID & RECREATION GRANT PROGRAM

Purpose:

Deadline for Applications August 31st, 2010

PUBLIC MEETING

BOWEN NIGHT MARKET

D E L L E C N A C T N E V E SATURDAY AUGUST 7TH o n

t h e

b o a r d w a l k

LOOKING FOR CRAFT, FOOD & MUSIC VENDORS

bowen.market@gmail.com

604-947-0640

A public meeting to present the First Reading Draft of the Bowen Island Municipality Official Community Plan Update

When:

August 21, 2010

Where:

Bowen Island Municipal Hall, 981 Artisan Lane

Time:

10:00am – 2:00pm

Presentation: Of highlights of the First Reading Draft by Consulting Planner Dave Witty at 11:00am and 1:00pm

Fall Cycle 2010

Applications for the fall cycle Grants-in-Aid and Recreation Program will be accepted until August 31st, 2010. Information about the program criteria, Grants-in-Aid policy and application forms are available at Municipal Hall, the Recreation Office and on our website www.bimbc.ca or contact Municipal Hall at 604-947-4255 or the Recreation Office at 604-947-2216. Bowen Island Municipality 981 Artisan Lane Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0 Fax: 604-947-0193


CCNA - Best Environmental Writing, Martha Perkins  

CCNA Premier Aweards Best Environmental Writing - Sponsored by Canada Post - Circ. to 9999 Martha Perkins, Bowen Island Undercurrent

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