Wellesley clarifies open fire bylaw
Wellesley hopes to make the rules governing open fires clearer for residents in overhauling its bylaws.
Addressing councillors Tuesday night, township fire chief Paul Redman said the language in the current bylaws are “overly verbose and confusing” to understand, even for him.
The idea, said Redman, was to avoid complicated “legalese” currently in place and allow people to figure out quickly and easily if they could, say, roast marshmallows with their kids in the backyard.
Amongst the revisions, the new bylaw reduces the minimum distance campfires have to be kept from dwellings to three meters from seven. Redman noted that decreasing this mandatory distance would allow more people to enjoy campfires in their backyards – which they were already doing, but without breaking the bylaw.
Redman added that so long as people follow the safety rules, such as keeping extinguishing agents nearby, and using clean, dry wood, there is no added danger of allowing fires to be made closer to homes.
The new bylaw would also allow the fire department more leeway in fining people over infractions by increasing the number of possible infractions to 16 from six, with each violation carrying a $200 fine. So, for example, someone illegally burning wooden pallets could potentially be charged thousands of dollars in fines, said Redman.