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Council Stops Bylaw Banning Residential Campfires

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Two significant changes are a result of the forest fires that ravaged parts of the province this summer causing mass evacuations and leaving a wake of destruction in their path.

The first is the adoption of the BC Forest Service Regulations in relation to the stopping of work in forested areas.

And the second change allows the municipality to shut down all trails in its jurisdiction, which was something it was not legally allowed to do this summer even though they went ahead with the trail ban anyway.

"We had no legal means of closing our trails when we did some research on that," said Hall.

"Really it depend(ed) on the good will of the people.

"That (change) was definitely a result of the summer."

Many of the other changes in the bylaw are not related to this summer’s forest fires but instead are just part of updating the old bylaw.

"It’s just been a matter of refining it and looking at what other municipalities are doing," said Hall.

If the new bylaw is approved the fire department will limit the time residents are allowed to burn their garden debris. Currently they are allowed to burn debris for one month in the spring and one month in the fall. Under the new bylaw this will be limited to two weekends in April and October.

They will have the option to take debris to the landfill with a free debris dump day in the spring.

The idea is to move to a complete ban of fall and spring debris burning but only once there are suitable composting facilities available. Carney’s Waste System is currently in the process of developing an organic composting facility for the corridor, which could take some of the garden debris.

"I would hope that we could do it within the next year but I think there’s an onus on us to provide people with a means of disposing of that type of material," said Hall.

"We’re hoping through recycling that we’re able to find a methodology that will allow people to, in essence, recycle their leaves and small branches and that type of thing."

A number of new fees will also be introduced in this updated bylaw. For example, property owners will be charged a fee if they do not provide a contact person in case of a fire alarm emergency, or if the person takes longer than 30 minutes to respond to the alarm.

The fees are just a way of dealing with financial stability and cost recovery as directed through the Whistler 2002 Vision document, which addresses financial stability.

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