Burn permits up 108% to cover cost in South Stormont

In this April 2019, file photo, an agricultural burn got out of control at a farm on Eligh-Beckstead Road in South Stormont. The township is more than doubling the fee for an open burn permit in order to cover the township's cost to respond to complaints like this fire. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

LONG SAULT – Landowners and farmers in South Stormont planning for a controlled burn this year will face a sharp increase in the cost to do it.

The township council approved a new fee structure which will see the one-year permit fee go from $12 to $25 – a 108 per cent increase.

Fire Chief Gilles Crepeau says the permit fees are meant to cover the fire department’s cost to respond to burning complaints and that’s not happening right now.

“We responded to 40 open burn calls. I don’t think we’re recovering our money through the the fees that we’re charging for an open burn (permit),” Crepeau told council last month.

“I think it’s very fair,” Mayor Bryan McGillis said of the increase.

Couns. Andrew Guindon and Jennifer MacIsaac nodded in agreement.

The permit has been $10 since 2009 and only increased to $12 last year to cover online credit card processing fees.

Permits do not apply to recreational fires like household campfires or fire pits.

The township issued 254 open air burn permits last year.