Give Me Firepit Smoke.

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,916
198
63
The Beach Strip
#1
Give me firepit smoke over a dumpster-style picnic anytime
By David Rose, Hamilton
(Sep 16, 2005)
I have been a resident of Beach Blvd. for about 10 years and until recently it was a common scene to see families having bonfires on the beach.

I have had three or four fires with family, friends and neighbours to celebrate birthdays, Victoria Day, etc. Most of the people who had bonfires back then did so in a responsible fashion.

But prior to the beach trail being installed, nearly every summer weekend saw groups of teenagers having wild parties and huge bonfires with flames that could easily have gone out of control.

They used driftwood, fallen trees, picnic tables, lawn furniture, pieces of fences and yard structures stolen from residents' properties to fuel these fires.

We would hear them screaming and laughing into the wee hours of the morning, not to mention the sound of beer and liquor bottles being smashed and left in the sand. On many occasions when the fire department arrived, the teens would scatter. The firefighters would douse the flames only to have the teens start it again after the firefighters left.

Now that the trail is in place, the city has a beach groomer comb the sand and deposit the debris into large dumpsters parked in vacant lots next to homes.

This debris includes stones, driftwood, algae, dead fish and birds. As you can imagine, when these dumpsters sit full in the hot sun for weeks at a time with rotting trash that other people discard nearby, it makes for an unpleasant atmosphere.

Trying to enjoy your yard in the summer, day or night, or even keeping your windows open is not an option. It would be akin to having a picnic at the local dump. You may think smoke from a firepit is bothersome. But I'd take the smell of a bonfire over the stink of a dumpster anytime.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,916
198
63
The Beach Strip
#2
Once burned, twice shy

By Jim Kay, general manager/chief, Hamilton
The Hamilton Spectator
(Sep 20, 2005)
Hamilton Emergency Services-Fire responds to numerous complaints of open-air burning in the urban areas of the city.

When it is determined that someone is contravening the bylaw, the fire is extinguished and a warning letter is sent stating that if illegal open-air burning is conducted again the owner/occupant could be charged for the violation and be responsible to pay a fire-service response fee of $380.36/hour.

In 2003, 321 warning letters were issued to citizens dealing with issues such as unapproved burning in urban areas, burning in rural areas without a permit or contravening the permit guidelines. A total of $2,275 was assessed under the bylaw based on six occurrences.

In 2004, 327 warning letters were issued with a total of $4,042.50 assessed based on 13 occurrences.

In 2005, to August of this year, a total of 144 warning letters were issued with a total of $760.72 assessed based on two occurrences.

Of significance is the fact that there were no repeat offenders who were assessed more than once for contravening the bylaw.

This suggests to us that people are heeding our warnings and the enforcement mechanisms within the bylaw are working and providing a deterrent.

Open-air burning for cooking purposes is allowed in both the bylaw and the Ontario Fire Code.

If firefighters respond to a situation and it is found that the homeowner is legitimately cooking food, the fire will be allowed to burn and the homeowner advised to extinguish the fire immediately once the food is cooked.

Are there citizens who try to circumvent this legislation by suggesting they are cooking when they are actually having a bonfire? Unfortunately, yes. In these circumstances however, Hamilton Emergency Services-Fire will make every attempt to determine the legitimacy of cooking and, where necessary, will extinguish the fire and proceed to a warning letter.

We recognize that, as an emergency service, we must balance all the interests of citizens to ensure the highest level of safety for our citizens.

We have tried to educate the public on open-air burning both through the print media and via media releases since the bylaw was enacted.

With respect to specific concerns from Beach Blvd. residents, we initiated a program with the Hamilton Police Service last year to conduct a mass mailing to residents advising them that open-air burning was not allowed given their urban boundary. Signs were posted at various locations along the beachfront to advise patrons of the bylaw.

In spite of our initiatives and best efforts, some people will continue to burn illegally.

I ask all citizens to assist the Hamilton Emergency Services in controlling unapproved open-air burning.

If you live in the designated urban areas and find unapproved open air burning, contact the Hamilton Emergency Services Communications Division at 905-546-3333 to report the burning.

Together we can work to make Hamilton a fire safe community for our citizens.

Citizens requesting additional information concerning open-air burning regulations are also encouraged to contact the Fire Prevention Division by calling 905-546-2424 ext. 1380.
 
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