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Clothesline Act aims to bring outdoor clothes drying for all

A resolution to allow clotheslines to be hung across the province has begun to break ground.

At a Powell River Council meeting Thursday, the resolution was proposed by the Climate Change Committee. It aims to remove all bylaws, province-wide, that would prevent clotheslines from being installed in any single-family dwelling; or on the ground floor of a multi-unit residential building.

According to the group, there are some stratas in the province that do not allow for outside clothes drying solutions and there needs to be provincial legislation to override the rules.

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“A citizen contacted us saying that they live in a strata building that has strata bylaws against allowing them to hang their laundry out on their balcony to dry,” said Leishman. “The thought in past years that it looks ugly to hang laundry outside.”

This is particularly important to the Climate Change Committee because the BC Clean Energy Plan and clothes dryers require a lot of energy.

A clothesline act does exist in Canada. It was created in 2010 in Nova Scotia for the same reason: to remove bylaws that don’t allow for laundry to hand outside.

Leishman says switching to outdoor drying in the summer months can help save homeowners money as dryers require a lot of energy.

“If they are gas dryers they are expelling fossil fuels as well so it is a cost,” said Leishman. “Some community members could go without a dryer if they were allowed to have a clothesline.”

She adds in the winter, dryer backup may not be a bad idea but it could save citizens money in the long run.

The resolution was approved to be put forward to the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities. From there it will need to be adopted and moved to the Union of B.C. Municipalities before being put forward to the province.

Leishman says this motion is a good example of what can happen when community groups come together.

“It’s a good example of how citizens can actually advocate for something they want to see changed and go through the proper process through council with the resolution and send it on to the subsequent conventions,” she said. “They can actually be an advocate themselves.”

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