By ROY WOOD
Despite a call from one councillor for a more moderate approach, Oliver council has apparently acceded to senior staff’s recommendation for restrictive rules around open fires at campgrounds.
Council agreed Tuesday to forward its draft fire control to the Oliver Fire Protection District for its perusal and comment. The bylaw will then be brought back to a council committee meeting.
The only contentious section of the bylaw at Tuesday’s meeting was one that restricts any campground to just one small wood-burning campfire, regardless of the number campsites on the property. The fire is restricted to half a metre in width and height.
Councillor Petra Veintimilla suggested some flexibility in the bylaw based on the size of the campground. “I would like to see something like one campfire per 10 or 20 sites … I have an issue with there being only one fire pit no matter the size of the campground,” she said.
After several minutes of discussion, Veintimilla had received no support from other council members and conceded, “I’m clearly outnumbered on this.”
Chief administrative officer Cathy Cowan, who brought the draft bylaw to the meeting, pointed out that any number of propane-fueled fire pits would be allowed under the bylaw.
Councillor Mo Doerr mentioned there have been complaints about campfire smoke from residents near some campgrounds. “If we allow more fire, what about the neighbors, who pay taxes?” she asked rhetorically.
Mayor Ron Hovanes expressed the view that increasing wildfire dangers will likely soon make campfires “a thing of the past.”
In other news:
Oliver added its voice to the chorus objecting to a recent request by Greyhound bus line to reduce the minimum required route frequency in some area municipalities.
The town will write a letter to the BC Passenger Transportation Board in support of pleas from Keremeos and Princeton for the board to reject Greyhound’s request to suspend service to the towns.
Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson earlier sent her own letter to the board objecting to the suspension of service to Keremeos, Hedley and Princeton and the reduction of service on other routes.