Town­ship moves closer to adop­tion of open air burn­ing reg­u­la­tion

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

South Glen­garry coun­cil – fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion with the town­ship’s fire depart­ment and the farm­ing com­mu­nity – is mov­ing closer to pass­ing a new “open air burn­ing” by­law that would re­place an ex­ist­ing or­di­nance passed in May, 2002.

“This by­law looks at recre­ational burns, event burns, agri­cul­tural and clear­ing of land burns,” said South Glen­garry Fire Chief Vic Ler­oux at a re­cent coun­cil meet­ing. The new pol­icy gives the fire depart­ment the au­thor­ity to in­ves­ti­gate, ap­prove or re­scind a burn per­mit.

“This is some­thing stan­dard across the province. We’re see­ing a lot of these burn by­laws be­ing res­ur­rected in many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties,” he said.

Chief Ler­oux, who re­ferred to the cur­rent by­law as “out­dated,” pointed out that his depart­ment had “lis­tened to the re­quests” of the town­ship’s agri­cul­tural com­mit­tee and “not in­cor­po­rated a burn safety plan,” which he noted “some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties re­quire from farm­ers.”

Other is­sues that the pro­posed by­law ad­dresses in­clude: al­low­ing for the burn­ing of higher de­bris piles, the elim­i­na­tion of windrows from burn­ing-el­i­gi­ble ma­te­ri­als, and the pro­hi­bi­tion of the burn­ing of straw and corn stalks, a prac­tice which causes “smoke is­sues across our town­ship,” said Chief Ler­oux.

He has in­cluded an im­por­tant, new com­po­nent to the re­vised mu­nic­i­pal statute.

“Dur­ing our con­sul­ta­tions with the agri­cul­tural com­mit­tee, I brought for­ward the in­clu­sion, through the ad­min­is­tra­tion process, of the Farm Busi­ness Reg­is­tra­tion num­ber for the (burn per­mit) ap­pli­ca­tion,” the chief ex­plained.

“I’ve had ex­pe­ri­ence with open burns in my first six months in this po­si­tion, and some of these ap­pli­ca­tions were fraud­u­lent, where the ap­pli­cants were say­ing that they were farm­ers when they weren’t. So this way, it elim­i­nates the ‘ wannabe’ farm­ers look­ing to burn as of­ten, and as much, as they want.”

All farm busi­nesses in On­tario that de­clare gross in­come of $7,000 or more an­nu­ally are re­quired un­der the Farm Reg­is­tra­tion and Farm Or­ga­ni­za­tions Fund­ing Act of 1993 to register their farm busi­ness with Agri­corp, a pro­vin­cial Crown agency that de­liv­ers risk man­age­ment pro­grams and other ser­vices to On­tario's agri- cul­ture in­dus­try.

Chief Ler­oux also ex­plained that burn per­mit ap­pli­ca­tions are typ­i­cally ap­proved within a 24-hour to 48-hour win­dow, and that the new by­law will not im­pact that time frame.

“Ap­provals are based on the na­ture of the re­quest, but some­times a farmer is look­ing to burn that day be­cause things are ideal,” he said. “If I’m no­ti­fied, and I’m sat­is­fied with the con­di­tions, he can burn that day.”

Coun­cil­lor Lyle War­den com­mended Chief Ler­oux for his “good work,” adding that the pro­posed by­law was “much more thor­ough” than its pre­de­ces­sor, while Coun­cil­lor Joyce Grav­elle said she was “cer­tainly happy” with the pro­posed or­di­nance.

Mayor Ian McLeod was also pleased with Chief Ler­oux’s ef­forts.

How­ever, he pointed out that the by­law was only re­ceiv­ing a first and sec­ond read­ing at the re­cent coun­cil meet­ing, and rec­om­mended fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion with the agri­cul­tural com­mit­tee be­fore the by­law is read for a third and fi­nal time at an up­com­ing coun­cil ses­sion.

Fire chief says cur­rent pol­icy is “out­dated”


CLEAN- UP: Burn­ing is an ef­fec­tive way to clean up de­bris, how­ever, mounds can smoul­der for days.

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