A pilot program permitting open air burning on private property west of Waterdown Road in North Aldershot is expected to be extended, subject to some conditions.
City staff are recommending that the trial period, which began in March 2020, continue until the end of 2022.
Residents to the west had lobbied for years for permission to burn yard waste on their properties. Council agreed in December 2019 to pilot the idea despite opposition from the Fire Department.
Open air burning has generally been permitted east of Waterdown Road, with some exceptions, but not west for a variety of reasons including proximity to major roadways.
First approved in 2019
When the pilot was first approved in 2019 Mayor Marianne Meed Ward suggested the City proceed carefully.
“If it proves to be problematic then the fire chief can end it immediately……..Proceed cautiously…….pull the plug if we have to”.
The latest staff report, going to Committee next week, points out that very few requests for open air burning were received during the initial phase of the pilot, and even fewer were approved. There were 8 requests, but only 2 were approved. The reasons are unclear. Staff are therefore not ready to allow permits in the west on a permanent basis.
“Staff feel extending the Pilot until December 31, 2022 will provide additional time to investigate why the number of requests was lower than expected, communicate with North Aldershot residents again advising of the Pilot extension and continue to monitor. This will provide a more accurate outcome and provide better information to make an informed decision”, according to the report.
There are however conditions that must be met in order to receive an open-air burning permit in the piloted area. These involve distance separators and time restrictions.
Fire Department officials have also warned that, even if the pilot succeeds, the eventual urbanization of the central sector of North Aldershot (around Waterdown Road) could end any outdoor burning permissions.