CORNWALL, Ontario – Two petitions were launched a day after Cornwall City Council voted 8-3 to ban open air wood fires.
“On Monday September 9 the city of Cornwall Counselor members Voted to ban fires in the city. I am hopping that people will support the fight for the city to allow people to have fires again,” reads one online petition that had just shy of 400 signatures at the time of writing. “The city of Cornwall been taking away everything while raising taxes and voting to give their self raises. I think its in the best interest to lift the fire ban before people want to move out of town and brining their money with them: I am asking for the support of the people in Cornwall to sign this petition.”
Cornwall Council did not vote to ban all outdoor fires, only those fueled by wood.
“Fuel based appliances are now available at reasonable cost,” said Cornwall Fire Services Chief Pierre Voisine who presented the recommendation to Council. “I suggest we roll back wood based open air fires in the City, and let residents use fuel based systems without a permit.”
City of Cornwall administration’s reasoning for the move was that while there were 260 open air burn permits issued in 2018, there were over 60 complaints against individuals using those permits.
“The data is telling us that there are issues with the performance of the by-law,” said Voisine. “The majority of complaints against well intended people who follow the by-law, but who create smoke issues in their area and neighbours call in to complain.”
Voisine explained that promoting gas fuel based open air fire systems would lead to less complaints, healthier breathing conditions and a reduced impact on the environment.
“When you are burning fuel based appliances, you are burning with a more efficient and complete combustion. It is a cleaner burn. It is not 100 per cent perfect for the environment, but it is better from whatever incomplete combustion system comes from other materials,” he said.