When I was a little girl, we had plenty of fires in the backyard. It was a time where family got together and told funny, or scary stories. It was a time when we made memories with each other. Neighbours used to join in without hesitation. We used to make plenty of food on the fire including; marshmallows, hot dogs, potatoes, and even steak. Some of these neighbours would bring drinks and some would even bring music. We grew up knowing that having backyard fires is a great memory for everyone. As I grew older, I didn’t attend as much as I should have been.
I was always wanting to be with friends because being around your family wasn’t as cool as when you were a kid. Being an adult now, I regret not attending more often as I should have because there are children that don’t have the opportunity. This could have been taken away for everyone because just a few months ago there was a debate wether our city should implement a fee charge for doing backyard fires and a permit to have a fire pit. This debate took over very fast, everyone was against it and as was I.
The instant people found out that we would need to pay a fifty dollar fee per year for a fire, they got pretty angry and spoke their minds about it. It wasn’t a moment of happiness for everyone that had read about it in the city. Some councillors as well we’re very against it, and they’re the ones that help us the most and help us voice our concerns. This fee meant that we would have had to get an inspector to come to the property to inspect wether you’d have been able to have a fire pit.
They would also have to come into the house to inspect all of the smoke alarms, the carbon monoxide alarms, and to see wether you’d have a fire extinguisher located inside the home. If none of these were functioning properly, you would have to change them all, or purchase more if there wasn’t enough in the home. In order to have a fire pit in the backyard, it must be fifteen feet away from any fences, trees, houses, garage, or deck. If these things are less than fifteen feet away, you are not able to place a fire pit. When the inspector comes to check the backyard, they measure everything and let you know if it’s safe to do fires.
If there is already a fire pit located, and it is not up to code for the bylaw, you can and will get a fine for unsafe burning and may get your fire pit taken away. The fine can be anywhere from 150$ to 500$ depending on the severity of how it is placed. The reason that they wanted to implement a fee for yearly burning or a permit for a fire pit, is because a lot of people don’t follow the bylaw. When neighbours burn and don’t follow the code, people tend to complain to city, or call the fire chief and tell them that there is unsafe burning happening in their neighbourhood.
If the fire chief happens to go to the house that was doing unsafe burning and they see that in fact it is true, they will fine the person. Neighbours do need to understand that there needs to be communication between both parties. Being a nosy neighbour is not a good neighbour. A good neighbour is one that is not afraid to join your backyard fire and add into your stories that you’re telling to everyone. Backyard burning shouldn’t be a burden for people. At last, there is a bylaw for what type of fire pit you can have.
Under the Permitted Fires under the “Permitted fires” section on the “City of Greater Sudbury burning permits bylaw”: “Fire in a burn barrel must be in good condition, is securely level on the ground, located at least six metres from building and five metres from any forest”. These bylaws must be followed at any time. There are also times as to when you can start a fire, which is “half hour before sunset and half hour after sunrise”. The city implements these bylaws to make sure everyone is burning safely. You must always have a bucket of water or your house near you incase the fire burns out of the barrel and into the grass.
If a fire burns out of control, it is the home owners responsibility to act up on how to try to take control of it, once in control, they must call the fire department and get them on their way to stop the fire from spreading further. If the fire department needs to be notified, there can be a charge for having them come to your property. This is where some people wished they would have got a fire permit so that they wouldn’t have to have a legal ticket on their hands if they would have just followed the bylaw before installing their fire pit.
Fire services have more priorities than attending backyard open fires, which is why people need to just stop and think, if what theyre doing is a good enough idea to maybe have a charge pending on them. In conclusion, I am completely against the idea of the city having to try and go through with a permit or fee for any time of open air burning. People need to start following the bylaw so that this does not get implemented now or in five years. The City of Greater Sudbury is the North, its a place where everyone comes together for camping, fishing, hunting, and I would want my children to enjoy that feeling when they’re older as well.
I’d like for them to know that they don’t need a television or computer to have a great time with their friends and family. Having that opportunity when I was a child, was a very memorable moment for me. It’s kept me busy throughout my childhood and I’m glad my parents gave me that chance. Here is to hoping that the city will reverse these fees or permits so everyone can have their own memorable moments with their own children, families, and neighbours.