Class action suit filed against ESRD
Claim filed on behalf of some Bragg Creek residents
Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 06:00 am
A class action has been filed on behalf of some residents of Bragg Creek against Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD), claiming the smoke from wood burning in West Bragg Creek has caused a health hazard.
Doug Sephton, the proposed representative plaintiff, seeks a remedy that includes $10,000 for each class member, along with awards for a variety of damages, as written in the statement of claim.
“There are a number of people who are having health issues as a result of the wood smoke,” said Clint Docken, legal counsel for the plaintiff.
Wood smoke can irritate the eyes, nose and throats, and can be harmful for those suffering from lung problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Docken said the suit could represent hundreds of people from the hamlet. He added he has heard reports of residents moving out of their homes, or not allowing their dogs outside because of the smoke from the slash burning.
“The fact is, they are logging and burning too close to a residential community,” said Docken. “It’s time for someone to be held accountable.”
According to the statement of claim, the class was assured that incinerators would control the slash burning; ensuring residents would not be exposed to wood smoke. The claim went on to state that the logging operations ceased the use of incinerators to control slash burning.
Nikki Booth, a spokesperson with ESRD, said slash was disposed of during the winter months through controlled burning.
Winter season burning has ceased, she added.
The statement of claim says the plaintiff and class have suffered a number of damages, including damages to personal property, illness, emotional and psychological trauma, out of pocket expenses, and loss of income.