Steve Johnson file image

Curfew put on campfires

Vernon looking at banning campfires past 11 p.m. to respect neighbours

Just how late campfires should be permitted has sparked debate.

A proposed fire services bylaw restricting campfire to no later than 11 p.m. fuelled discussions among Vernon politicians Monday.

“Who cares if it’s out at 11 or 12? We’re telling citizens they have to be in bed at 11,” said Coun. Scott Anderson, who says noise bylaws are already in place to protect against loud parties and out of hand fires are regulated by size restrictions.

But fire chief David Lind defends that the bylaw is not to do with fire safety, but moreso bylaw enforcement availability later into the evening.

“People who are staying around the campfire may be staying up later, may be a little more noisy,” said Lind. “It’s more about neighbours being good to neighbours.”

Councillors Juliette Cunningham and Catherine Lord agree with the rationale.

“It’s a signal to people to move the party inside,” said Lord. “It certainly doesn’t hurt anybody to put out their fire and move inside.”

“I don’t think it is unreasonable,” said Cunningham, noting that at one point in recent years the city considered banning campfires altogether. “Sound carries and people are inebriated.”

Anderson doesn’t agree.

“In the summertime it gets dark at 10 and they have an hour to have a campfire?” he questions.

No grant for Gleaners

Vernon isn’t giving a non-profit group a break, due to the fact that it helps overseas and not locally.

The City of Vernon has denied a request from the North Okanagan Gleaners Society for a tax exemption at its used-furniture store.

“They do a fantastic service, I don’t know why we wouldn’t support that,” said Coun. Brian Quiring. “They derserve some benefit for their effort.”

The rationale behind not granting the tax break is because the charitable benefit the Gleaners provide is outside Vernon’s municipal jurisdiction.

“I think there is some benefit to members of our municipality helping people that are dying of starvation,” said Quiring. “It’s an outstanding group that does an outstanding job.”

But the Gleaners aren’t the only ones being denied tax exemptions. The Community Dental Access Centre, North Okanagan Childcare and Montessori Preschool Society and Vernon Elks Club have also been denied. Meanwhile exemptions have been granted for the North Okanagan Neurological Association’s new Club House, two Canadian Mental Health Association properties, Teen Junction and the Okanagan Landing and District Community Association.

Bike path sought

Now that the bicycle lane along Kalamalka Road has made headway, there is pressure to get another route on track.

A bike lane continuation on Okanagan Landing Road out to Ellison Park is urged by a Vernon politician.

“I see more bicycles on Okanagan Landing and Eastside Road than I see anywhere else,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.

Where such a project falls in the city’s transportation plan timeline will be brought back to the Oct. 10 council meeting.

Rental reservations

Vernon is following suit of some bigger centres in terms of how to regulate airbnbs.

“With such a shortage of rental properties I’m just curious if any municipality is doing anything,” said Coun. Dalvir Nahal.

CAO Will Pearce says a sampling will be brought back to council on how others deal with the short-term rentals.

“We are waiting to see Vancouver’s direction and Victoria,” said Pearce.

Help sought for Hurlburt

Improvements to Hurlburt Park are being sought.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee is being asked to consider an expenditure of $477,549.00, funded in 2017 through Development Cost Charges, to address issues of accessibility, safety and the usability of the park.

Speed is another factor. Traffic calming along Eastside Road is sought to slow vehicles to the posted speed limit of 60 km/h. Historical data shows vehicles typically travel at 70 km/h.

Portable toilets are in the park from spring to fall, but it is also recommended that a permanent vault toilet be installed. Some fencing, lighting and amphitheatre repairs are also needed.

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