Public health over bagels? City pondering wood-fired oven ban in 2019

Not long after the city of Montreal's restrictions on residential fireplaces and wood-burning stoves came into effect, the city is considering going a step further, and banning wood-fired restaurant ovens.

The city's point man on the environment, Jean-François Parenteau, told Montreal's Metro newspaper that he'd like to see the new rules in place by sometime in 2019.

It appears it's a question of public health over bagels, charcoal chicken, and wood-fired pizza.

Parenteau does suggest, however, that if such a bylaw were to come into force, that there would be a grace period to allow restaurateurs to make their adjustments. The city is looking to have the wood-burning ovens replaced by gas-powered cooking.

In the past it has already urged restaurants to install filtration systems.

Robert Moreno of St. Viateur Bagels told CTV Montreal their restaurants have already installed filters.

"We want to catch as many fine particles before it goes into the environment. As the smoke is being burnt we accumulate it, we filter it, and then we send it out of our chimney stack, and in doing so we reduce the emissions. The city has a norm, and we're below that norm," said Moreno.

Such a ban would also affect places like Portuguese chicken joints, and pizza restaurants who pride themselves on cooking their food in wood-burning ovens.

The city says transportation is the leading cause of fine particulate matter spewed into the environment, followed closely by smoke from fireplaces.