Cornwall wood-fired outdoor burn ban delayed for public feedback

The public gallery at a Cornwall city council meeting is filled on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019 for a special meeting on consulting the public on a wood-fired outdoor burn ban. The city will be going to the public for feedback and won't be changing the bylaw next Monday. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – With a number of Cornwall city councillors saying they made a mistake in the process, the municipality will be going to the public on the proposed wood-fired outdoor burning ban within city limits.

The gallery was packed with around 60 people – some even sitting at the presentation desk – to hear councillors speak about going to the public during a special council meeting Monday afternoon.

Mayor Bernadette Clement says she had a friendly “conversation between neighbours” with her own two neighbours – one who has an outdoor fireplace – and she would like to see a similar public process.

How that public feedback will be collected still needs to be ironed out.

The bylaw, which would phase out use of fire pits and Chimeneas, was supposed to be passed at next Monday’s meeting (Sept. 23) but that won’t happen now.

In the meantime, the city has got a legal opinion on the status of whether people can still get permits. Human Resources Manager Geoff Clarke says, because council rescinded the previous bylaw but hasn’t passed a new one, the city falls under the provincial law which doesn’t allow open fires. In other words, people can’t obtain a permit now.

Mayor Clement says she’s taking “full responsibility” for what transpired and getting the process “back on track” as far as getting public feedback.