Blasting poses risk

Until bylaw in place, all blasting within 100 meters of any occupied building should be postponed

In the Dec. 10 Oak Bay News article “Blasting forces Oak Bay family from home”,  Mayor Nils Jensen was quoted as saying,  “I’m told it’s happened 18 times over the last 25-plus years so it’s extremely rare. We’ve never heard about anything of that nature before.”   The incident he was referring to was not about wayward falling rocks or cracked plaster, which are rare with modern blast techniques,  but an incident of deadly carbon monoxide gas being forced into a family home by blasting on the next-door lot.

The mayor’s offhand comment was extremely irresponsible because it may lull neighbours of a blasting site into a false sense of security.  In truth, anyone living near a blasting site must remain vigilant, for their very lives depend on it.  The release of poisonous gas by blasting is not a rarity as the mayor would have us believe,  but a chemical certainty. Every blast creates huge volumes of gases under extreme pressure, including carbon monoxide.  Some of it is pushed up into the air, and some of it is pushed down and along through underground fissures, faults and pipes.

Carbon monoxide is a deadly, invisible, odourless, tasteless gas … a silent and quick killer.  The only rare thing about the spread of carbon monoxide underground by blasting, is how rarely it is detected.  This rare detection comes in two forms … due to a carbon monoxide sensor near a floor drain, or by an emergency room physician.  Rare only because most people do not have carbon monoxide sensors in their basements, and because people are rarely in their basements when the blasting occurs.

Because of the innocent families who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes in Quebec in the 1990s, scientific investigations were carried out and recommendations were made to mines, blasting companies and civic governments.  For instance, in West Vancouver the blasting bylaw is a 16-page technical document which ensures that safeguards are in place before any blasting permit is issued.  In comparison, Oak Bay doesn’t even have a specific blasting bylaw to protect our lives …  just a brief subsection tacked onto the permit bylaw.

Until a bylaw is enacted in Oak Bay that is at least as comprehensive as West Vancouver’s, and until that new bylaw assures more safety for all of us,  all blasting within 100 meters of any occupied building should be postponed.  The incident that caused the mayor’s quote is clear proof of this.

Children innocently playing in their own home could have died.

Stephen Bowker

 

Oak Bay

 

 

Just Posted

Police seek potential victims of bad ‘nanny’

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

Oak Bay firefighters help fund new Monterey playground

Sausage Fest cash handed over to Monterey PAC

Needles found at Goldstream campground in Langford

West Shore RCMP respond to several calls for service associated with homeless campers

Alcohol and drugs ruled out in serious crash that closed Sooke Rd last week

All three drivers taken to hospital have since been released

Neighbours fear impact of tent city residents on Goldstream Provincial Park

Langford residents opposed to campers voice concerns at campground gate

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read