Liberals need to stop ignoring potential firewood shortage and protect public safety

June 10, 2014

(Shelburne, NS) NDP Natural Resources critic Sterling Belliveau says if the Liberals don’t address an impending firewood shortage immediately it could have serious consequences for families next winter.

Belliveau says a shortage would cause prices to rise dramatically and some households might try to heat their homes using green wood that hasn’t been cured. Burning green wood increases the amount of smoke produced and is considered dangerous. The Canadian Lung Association recommends all wood used in wood stoves is cured for at least six months.

“Right now is the time of year when firewood suppliers need to fill their order for winter,” said Belliveau. “The wood needs the appropriate time to dry otherwise it is unsuitable, even dangerous, to use. I can’t stress enough how timely the situation is.”

“We’ve been trying for months now to get the Minister of Natural Resources to help us find a solution to this issue with little, to no success,” Michael Nowe, a firewood supplier from Italy Cross. “Time is running out, and if we aren’t given access to crown land soon, there won’t be enough wood for families to heat their homes with next winter. This really has become a crisis.”

On May 22, Belliveau asked the provincial Resources committee to hold an emergency meeting to address the current firewood shortage. The Liberal members of the committee did not support the motion but offered to write a letter to the Minister of Natural Resources Zach Churchill regarding the situation. Belliveau says neither he, nor the firewood suppliers he’s talked with have heard anything from the Liberal government since then.

“I doesn’t seem like the Minister of Natural Resources fully appreciates the urgency of the situation,” says Belliveau. “The Liberals can’t just sit back and see what happens, they need to take some action. For households who have no other option but to heat their homes with wood, this could become a safety issue.”

Belliveau added, “Six months from today is December 10, this needs to be resolved now,”.