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Residents’ fire pits, outdoor fireplaces not considered nuisances

With spring just days away, Elk Point Town Council once again debated the issue of adding prohibitions regarding outdoor fireplaces and fire pits to Bylaw 879/23 – Nuisance and Unsightly Premises.
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ELK POINT – With spring just days away, Elk Point Town Council once again debated the issue of adding prohibitions regarding outdoor fireplaces and fire pits to Bylaw 879/23 – Nuisance and Unsightly Premises.

That bylaw, passed last August, although dealing largely with unsightly buildings, overgrown grass and bushes, abandoned machinery or vehicles and garbage, states in its first two prohibitions, that “No property owner shall cause or allow that property or the use of that property to constitute a nuisance” and “No property owner shall cause or allow that property to be a danger to public safety or an unsightly premise.”

The bylaw was brought back to council in November, along with a draft of a potential addition that included eight prohibitions on the use of outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, derived from research of similar bylaws in other municipalities, and was tabled at that time after council agreed to take it to the Public Works department for their input and also to seek public engagement via the town’s water bills and social media, as the issue was not time sensitive with winter’s arrival imminent.

Public engagement brought forth a request signed by eight residents, asking that council address fire pit and outdoor fireplace use even further by considering their 12 recommendations for additional prohibitions to the draft bylaw.

Council studied the revised draft bylaw, with the addition of nine more prohibitions, and questioned the need for yearly inspections, permits and fines, as well as whether fire pits and outdoor fireplaces should be part of the Nuisance bylaw. It was also noted that the Town of St. Paul has never regulated the use of fire pits.

Fire Chief Bryce Osinchuk had been asked for his reaction and indicated that he felt there was no need for inspections, while Manager of Operations Jay Duffee said that the only restrictions he felt would be necessary would be that the fireplaces or fire pits be a safe distance from combustible materials and that only clean wood be burned.

The lengthy discussion ended with a motion to receive the request and proposed additions to the bylaw as information. Bylaw 879/23 – Nuisance and Unsightly Premises remains unchanged from its August 2023 approval by council. 

Trail Ride coming to town

The annual 2nd Chance Trail Ride will once again make Elk Point’s main street part of its route from the Lindbergh Staging Area to Elk Point Allied Arts. Council approved a request submitted by Elk Point Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the 2nd Chance Trail Ride Society, and will provide barricades for the route up 50 St. from the EcoCentre to 55 Ave., east and north to 57 Ave. and across Highway 41 to the Allied Arts. The Town will also send the street sweeper along the route behind the parade, and will arrange to have the outdoor washroom at the Eco Centre available for use when the trail ride participants arrive from Lindbergh.

Town to host Chinese Drummers

A very special Canada-wide event will be added to Elk Point’s July 1 schedule, with council accepting the invitation from Dr. Donald Yu of the Canada Day Drumming Organizing Committee to participate in Canada Day Drumming, an annual nationwide celebration bringing together communities from coast to coast in synchronized drumming performance.  This event holds the current Guinness World Records title of ‘Most People Performing a Drum Roll’ with 581 drummers across the nation. 

The Alberta portion of the event has previously been held in Calgary, but Mayor Parrish Tung recently met with Dr. Yu and other committee members and learned that there was interest in changing the location this year, with a letter of invitation coming to council in time for the March 11 meeting. 

The drumming event will be held near the Eco Centre following the Canada Day Parade, with the drum roll scheduled for 12:00 noon here, at exactly the same time as it takes place in communities from Newfoundland to the BC coast. 

The community will be invited to join in the drumming, with miniature drums to be handed out at the site, and Canada Day Committee chair, Deputy Mayor Wanda Cochrane is hoping to have some of the First Nations drummers from around the area join the contingent of Chinese drummers in what Dr. Yu calls “An unforgettable celebration of Canadian culture and heritage.”

Turbine location restrictions

Mayor Tung agreed to join County of St. Paul Reeve Glen Ockerman and other political leaders from across the area in signing a letter to Premier Danielle Smith and Utilities Minister Nathan Neudorf expressing the area’s gratitude on limitations being put in place on renewable energy projects, especially the 35 km buffer zone on pristine landscapes and the restrictions against these developments on Class 1 and 2 soils.

The letter asks that the Province enforce a 35 km buffer zone along the North Saskatchewan River across Alberta and “to recognize the Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul region as a pristine landscape and growing tourism region, and therefore off limits to future development of industrial wind turbines due to their ‘vertical footprint’.”

New board member

Council passed a resolution to approve a request by the Elk Point Municipal Library Board to add Brianne Greening to the board.

Recycling to be updated

Manager of Operations Jay Duffee said “an exciting opportunity is coming up” when he visited council with his monthly report, with news from the province regarding Extended Producer Responsibility, which shifts the responsibility and cost of collecting and processing recyclables away from local governments.  Initially, this will involve locating collection bins in transfer stations for a wide range of recyclable materials, and eventually locating the receptacles in towns, at no cost to the communities, hopefully by 2026.


About the Author: Vicki Brooker

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