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Town discusses air quality survey

Air quality served as a continued article of discussion for the Town of Lakeview during their Tuesday, Feb. 11, Town Council meeting.

Specifically, the Town addressed a survey recently distributed with water and sewer utility bills, said Town Mgr. Ray Simms.  The survey contained a number of questions soliciting input from the general public on the matter of local air quality management.

An estimated 1,350 surveys were sent out into the community with an estimated 259 returned, bringing total participation into the range of about 20 percent.

“It was actually pretty good participation,” he said.  “We do appreciate peoples’ input.”

Highlights from the survey include a vast majority of participants (out of 249 that responded to the question) opposed to strong mandatory local measures to assure good quality (158 opposed versus 81 in support).

A marked majority (out of 242 that responded to the question) also disagrees that the local economy would be impacted by air quality (189 opposed, 53 in support).

Most also felt that it is not reasonable for Lakeview’s area air quality to always be good, while the majority of survey participants (197 of 239 respondents) felt that Lakeview’s air quality was mostly impacted by natural conditions of location and weather patterns.  Woodstove use ranked second, as cited by 88 of survey participants.

Lakeview’s area air quality was rated as ‘acceptable’ by 120 of the 254 participants, with 20 ranking it as ‘poor,’ 28 as ‘unacceptable’ and 86 as ‘good.’

Of 256 responses received on frequency of burning wood for heat, 124 reported ‘never,’ 70 reported ‘always,’ and 62 reported ‘occasionally.’

Simms said the majority of comments submitted through the survey pertained to prescribed burns and other activities on surrounding forestlands.  Wood-burning stoves placed a close second, he said.

What the submitted comments lacked, Simms said, were specific suggested solutions.

The discussion came a week prior to a community meeting on the subject of air quality and a plan of action developed by the local PM Advance committee, which features town and county representation.  See related story for more details.

Mayor Mike Patrick, Councilor Mike Warren and Simms all reported on a work session held by the Lake County Board of Commissioners on Monday, Feb. 10.

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