Campfires: hot topic

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With a citizen petition in hand, Doug Measures, Councillor for Ward 1, re-opened the debate about open-air burning in the settlement areas of Creemore, New Lowell, Stayner and Nottawa.
Council revisited Clearview’s Open-Air Burning Bylaw at its Monday, September 23 meeting.

Council last amended the Open-Air Burning Bylaw in December 2011. Currently, rural residents can purchase a burn permit to have an open-air fire. The bylaw prohibits residents of settlement areas from having open-air fires.

The petition, which two citizens from New Lowell and Nottawa created, contains 278 signatures from Clearview, said Measures. In total, about 300 people signed the petition, he said.

In the petition, the citizens ask Council to bring back the bylaw allowing residents of settlement areas to hold burning permits.

“People want a background campfire or barbecue,” explained Councillor Measures. “It’s part of our heritage as Canadians.”

Alicia Savage, Deputy Mayor, disagreed. “I am against re-opening this,” she stated. Savage cited improved health and air quality, and reduced pollution in the settlement areas as proof that the bylaw is working.

Acting Fire Chief Colin Shewell reported that about 2 per cent of open-air fires in rural areas result in complaints to the Clearview Township Fire Department. In 2012, the Fire Department issued 1,058 burn permits and received 23 complaints. So far this year, the Fire Department has received 13 complaints and issued 939 burn permits.

Council will use traditional and social media to engage the public on this issue, It will review the Open-Air Burning Bylaw at an upcoming meeting this fall.

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