The City of Kitchener is tightening the rules surrounding open fire pits.

It’s a compromise between the status-quo and a complete ban.

The discussion surrounding a ban stems from a delegation made last week by Pat Schneider. She says she is allergic to smoke, and has a neighbour who is constantly burning fires. Schneider was present on Monday night as 1 of the 8 delegations, “I wake up with a sinus headache, a sore throat, and a runny nose.”

From now on open fires have to be 6 metres away from any structure, an increase of 1 metre under the previous law.

Also, the time residents can have fires has reduced by 12 hours, making it acceptable to light a camp fire between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Another delegation, Michel Lalonde, didn’t want to see a ban, “We should be able to go outside, play a little music, do a bit of dancing, and enjoy fire, on occasion.”

Staff has been directed to report back with a draft by-law to be enacted at the next council meeting, which is August 27th

That by-law will add in permits, at a cost of $10 per fire, with a maximum of 6 occasions a year.

Staff will also report back by year-end, to address how these new rules worked.

Councillor Berry Vrbanovic came up with the “middle-of-the-road” motion, and borrowed the words of the nights final delegation, Joe Soulier. “Nothing is going to replace respect, consideration, and understanding between neighbours. That’s not something we can legislate. That’s only something we can continue to encourage within our community.”

Mike.McCulloch@rci.rogers.com