Local asks Tofino to update burning bylaw

Tofino’s district office kept its campfire bylaw as is despite being asked to change it

 

Tofino’s district office is happy with its current campfire bylaw and won’t be amending it, despite being asked to by a local resident.

Campfires are covered under Tofino’s Outdoor Burning Bylaw 1071, 2008, which stipulates that all fires must be “at least 3 meters from any vegetation, beach material, buildings, structures, overhead wires, vehicles, or any other combustible materials.”

During last week’s regular meeting, Tofino’s municipal council reviewed a letter from Tofino local Judi MacLeod who urged them to extend this distance to 20 metres.

“I feel that 3 metres is just too close in a residential neighborhood and would like to see it extended to 20 metres,” she wrote.

“Our property was threatened this year by our neighbours leaving a campfire unattended in the middle of their dry long grass on a hot windy day. Sparks were blowing onto our property.”

MacLeod wrote that she had spoken with Tofino’s Fire Chief John Gilmour, as well as the district’s lead bylaw officer Robert Letts, but was told any change to the bylaw would need to come from council.

“If it was changed this would still allow those with acreage, and/or waterfront to have a fire, just not in a close neighborhood, where it’s dangerous to other properties,” she wrote. “Please seriously consider changing this bylaw.”

After reviewing MacLeod’s letter, council seemed set to direct district staff to look into the feasibility of amending the bylaw but district CAO Bob MacPherson explained that this had already been done.

“I have discussed this letter with the Fire Chief and, at this time, the Fire Chief is not of the view that it’s necessary to amend our bylaw,” MacPherson said.

“It’s something that we’re always looking at, and always mindful of, but the Fire Chief is not of the view that there are problems, or is potential for problems, with the bylaw.”

Upon hearing this, the motion to refer MacLeod’s letter to staff was withdrawn and council chose instead to simply receive it for information.

The bylaw prohibits campfires between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. and also stipulates all fires must be fully extinguished before being left unattended for any period of time.

 

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca