Council seeks to add a courtesy clause around outdoor burning

·2 min read

Tay Township could soon begin a review of its outdoor burning policy to include measures around educating residents about the activity's health hazards.

The matter was brought up at a recent council committee meeting by Mayor Ted Walker, who wanted staff to review the measures to bring attention to the possible health hazards such as respiratory problems as well as potential property damage outdoor burning may be cause one's neighbours.

"The complaints I'm receiving are not for a dire ban, but courtesy around smoke and damage to nearby property," he said. "Some of these fires are not extinguished properly but left to smoulder, making smoke go into neighbouing properties and pose a health hazard."

Walker said the smoke problems could also be due to what is being burned during recent crisp autumn days.

"That's just one example of the numerous complaints I've received," he said. "That causes the same problem for someone with respiratory problems."

The township needs to undertake a review of measures that can be implemented to draw more attention to these issues with respect to permits and enforcement, said Walker.

"The additional staff we had for summer could maybe do some double duty over weekends to do this," he said. "Once we have a communications person, we need to do a vigorous communications strategy for what can be burned."

Some of the problems, no doubt, are because of lot sizes, noted Walker, adding the issue is getting to be more pronounced and more frequent in settlement areas where homes are closer together than in rural areas.

Coun. Barry Norris echoed the mayor's comments.

"It all boils back down to the ignorance of the property owner not understanding how to burn," he said. "The mayor alluded to it, that it becomes an education process. If people can't be educated enough to understand how a fire has to be controlled, the lead up to that is a total ban of fires in settlement areas. It definitely warrants looking into."

Staff will bring back a report at a future meeting.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com