The Town of Oliver will be limiting campgrounds within city limits to one campfire for every 25 campsites after approving an amended motion on Monday.
Initially, the motion called for just one campfire per campground, but Coun. Petra Ventimilla suggested the amendment.
The motion was largely targeted at the only campground in the town, Lakeside Resort, where there are around 50 campsites. That would allow two fires in the campsite at one time.
“The nuisance comments that will come in or the complaints, our bylaws are complaint driven, and if these campfires are creating smoke, or they’re burning with poor venting, or they’re burning green wood, or they’re causing disturbances to neighbours, all those bylaws will kick in,” Mayor Ron Hovanes said.
“We’re talking about campfires in an urban setting, and as we go forward and the communities get larger and larger, and urban centres get more populated, now there very well could be a time when urban campfires are a thing of the past.”
Though Lakeside Resort told town council there were no complaints from neighbours, Hovanes disagreed.
“Sure enough, in the last number of years, we’ve had more than a few complaints,” he said.
Hovanes did, however, acknowledge the argument that the limitations may affect business for the campground, which was originally surrounded by agricultural land, but is now neighbour to residential neighbourhoods.
“It’s part of the experience of coming to a campground in the South Okanagan,” Hovanes said.
“That’s what people do, and I understand that; I get it. But again, at the end of the day if there was no complaints, if there were not any complaints from the neighbours about smoke and issues and people claiming they can’t enjoy their balconies from their houses … you have to listen to those complaints as well.”
Beyond the campground, open fires not fuelled by gas are also barred from the town, Hovanes said, including non-enclosed backyard fire pits.