Fryer hopes for fire pit bylaw to streamline process of backyard fires

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A member of town council has asked that the fire department comes back with a fire pit bylaw to streamline the process for people wishing to have backyard fires.

Councillor Rick Fryer made the motion to have fire chief Bruce Montone bring such a bylaw to town council, with the hope it could be done by the July 10 meeting.

“It was brought to my attention that other municipalities have a one-time fee and all you have to do is call a number and an automated message will tell you ‘yes, you can’ or ‘no, you can’t have a fire that night due to weather conditions’,” said Fryer.

Fryer said that would come with a “nominal fee” and would allow residents to have a bonfire in their backyards and “enjoy their summer” if they wish to have a fire with their friends and family.

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“Other municipalities do it,” said Fryer. “I don’t know that this was our intention when we said no open burns.”

Deputy fire chief Lee Tome said the current bylaw is “many years old and due for an update” but doubted the report could come back by July 10. Fryer said he spoke with Montone and said July 10 is possible.

Councillor Diane Pouget said she has a problem with open burns but Councillor Joan Courtney voiced her support of Fryer’s motion.

“This past Father’s Day, my little grandchildren asked ‘grandma, can we build a bonfire and roast marshmallows?” said Courtney.

Courtney was apprehensive as a councillor about doing that, quipping that she didn’t want to see a headline in the River Town Times saying “Councillor violates own bylaw.”

“I would be very happy if we do this,” Courtney said about implementing a new fire pit bylaw.

Councillor Leo Meloche said the bylaw has to have urban and rural components.

“The bylaw has to be cognizant of where I live. There are 500 acres of open area behind me,” the McGregor resident said.

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