The updated Fire Bylaw is due to go for final reading to Council on Feb. 21st (or the next meeting after that).
I have made some changes in the draft based on comments from residents, Council and from the Fire Chief. I have asked the Village Office to post the Feb 9th draft – that’s the latest one - to the Village website at lionsbay.ca If it is not up there, feel free to e-mail me asking for a copy.
· Council’s interest in banning the outdoor burning of wood is made more explicit in this draft (see clause #37). The intent is to achieve air quality goals and protect residents’ health, while encouraging the burning of cleaner fuels in outdoor cooking and heating. Wood burning in older, legally built and inspected structures would be grandfathered.
· The idea of a permit for fireworks is replaced with a simple requirement to notify the Village Office a week ahead (clause #49 which goes with the Consumer Fireworks Policy Appendix A). This is easier on everyone and works fine for the Fire Chief. Council felt fireworks should only be allowed on October 31st; I added New Year’s after conferring with the Fire Chief. It’s too dry around Canada Day, though.
· Appendix B - Gone are the notions of fees for doing a fire inspection or for writing up a fire inspection report if the fire was caused by a resident’s negligence – too much like hitting someone when they’re down.
Comments on Wood Burning and Open Burning
In this whole question of what you can burn outside, the aim is to find a sensible compromise that works for Villagers. A definite social trend at present is moving your living room outdoors. People want to cook outside and sit around outside in heated areas. In stores, more and more forms of barbecue pits and equipment are being sold. Magazines advertise sumptuous-looking structures like fireplaces and fire rings. They do look attractive and they are very nice for the people using them. However, the effect for the neighbours, and the collective effect for the Village is ...more stuff being burned outside and more smoke. So what would the draft bylaw do? While grandfathering legal fireplaces or fire rings (those that were permitted and inspected by the Building Inspector), the bylaw would ban the burning of wood outside except in the grandfathered structures/devices. There are numerous reasons why this is a good thing to do. First, Fire Rescue wants it for safety reasons. In their experience, wood-burning structures like fire pits and fire rings outside can invite bonfires which are hazardous. Second, Council has goals around air quality and wants to minimize smoke. Anyone wanting more background on this contact Councillor Ruth Simons at
as she is our strongest proponent on Council of clean air legislation, having sponsored e.g. the anti-idling bylaw. Third, some of our residents suffer badly from smoke, and any outdoor burning affects them. And fourth, a device that burns wood can also pose a temptation to burn waste, refuse, etc. This is stuff that Villagers just don’t want burned around them. The school recently was affected when this was occurring nearby. The bylaw strives for a balance, however. “Open burning” would not be allowed, but it is defined so it excludes the burning of fuels that most people would call cleaner fuels. It would not be “open burning” to use charcoal that is non-self-lighting and commercially-available (the self-lighting stuff is soaked in lighter fluid), natural gas, butane or propane. In this way, the bylaw would let people still build, buy or install the newer outdoor devices and structures for cooking and heating (remember to check if you need a building permit for the installation). For example, you could install a new fireplace outside that used propane. Meanwhile, clean, dry wood could be burned only in the grandfathered legal fireplaces and pits. It’s not an approach that will suit those who are nostalgic for campfire days, but it does try to strike a balance that will meet the interests of most of the residents of Lions Bay.