Residents share concerns with Town over fire bylaw changes

May 20, 2021   ·   1 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council received a pair of correspondence during their regular meeting last Monday (May 10), stating they’re upset with a recent amendment to the Town’s Open Air Burning Bylaw.

On March 8, Orangeville Council changed the bylaw so backyard fires can be lit from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., following a request from residents looking to have it extended.

The rationale at the time was that during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are at home more and spending more time in their backyards, so it seemed like an easy fix to allow fires a little earlier in the day.

While the motion to amend the Open Air Burning Bylaw was well received by Council, with unanimous support, two residents have since written to the Town, expressing their concerns.

The first letter that came in was from Orangeville resident, Ellan Storey, who said she was “disheartened” to learn that Council decided to extend the Town’s open air burning hours.

“This shows no consideration for the people struggling to recover from COVID-19, and there are many,” the letter reads. “Lungs are the main concern as we all know. It will create a health hazard. It is a mistake. If anything, all fire pit burning should have been banned, not increased.

Storey added that her sister is one of the many people affected by COVID-19 and is left with respiratory problems, which include “terrible coughing fits and shortness of breath”.

“She was looking forward, as we all are, after being shut inside by lockdown orders, to sitting outside and breathing fresh air this summer,” the letter states.

“I would urge Council to reconsider their decision.”

The second letter, written by Orangeville resident, Joan Amos, also brought up breathing concerns over the increased window of time backyard fires can be lit.

“I am someone who has trouble with smoke in the air and it was bad enough at night,” the letter reads. “Our windows had to be closed in lovely, summer evenings to ward off headaches and coughing all night., not to mention hot, stuffy rooms.

“Now, with the pandemic it will be worse for those of us already having breathing problems from COVID infections.”

Amos noted in the letter that for those without respiratory issues, extended hours of outdoor fires is no problem, but plenty of people in Orangeville have health issues and want to breath clean air.

“It should be a priority,” said Amos in her letter.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Janice Cofell says:

    Let’s be clear, the fires are toxic and burners can go ahead and poison their own children if they please, but YOUR smoke belongs on YOUR property and not in someone else’s lungs or homes. This new burning policy is about votes and kowtowing to those who want to burn. Solution to this: 9-1-1 ‘I can’t breathe.’ Then the fire department attends and makes them put our their furniture or rubbish they decided to burn on their ‘wee campfires’. Clean air is everyone’s right and when you have to call an ambulance for a loved one who is on the floor and can’t breathe, you will wake up.


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