Delta is updating its fire regulation bylaw to allow the use of natural gas and propane fueled outdoor heating elements, and to empower Delta Police and bylaw officers to issue tickets under the bylaw.
On Monday, city council voted to add heating appliances such as gas fire pits, fire tables, fire places and umbrella-style heaters to the list of apparatus exempt from the fire regulation bylaw, which includes charcoal, natural gas or propane barbecues, grills or other outdoor appliances for the sole purpose of cooking food.
A report to council by Delta Fire Chief Guy McKintuck notes that while gas fire pits and the like are currently prohibited, the ban is not enforced, creating confusion in the community regarding what is allowed. The change to allow the appliances would align the bylaw with current practices and enforcement approaches.
City manager Sean McGill said the original ban was meant to address wood-burning chimineas and other similar appliances — as well as open fire pits in people’s backyards, added Mayor George Harvie — that presented a fire hazard in the community.
“That’s what people were using around that time, they wern’t using as much the natural gas ones,” McGill told council Monday. “The intent was never to capture the CSA-approved natural gas-burning fire tables, but they got caught up [with] these outdoor [wood] burning appliances.”
Meanwhile, council also voted to give city bylaw enforcement officers and Delta police the authority to issue tickets and bylaw notices under the fire regulation bylaw.
Previously, authority to issue tickets under the bylaw rested solely with Delta Fire a& Emergency Services, which the report notes “has created challenges with the timely enforcement of offences, particularly related to the use of fireworks in the community.”
“Moving forward, giving bylaw enforcement officers and police officers the clear authority to issue tickets and bylaw notices under this bylaw will help provide for more effective enforcement.”
The move also made it an offence under the bylaw to not provide police or bylaw officers with a correct name and address when asked, or to otherwise obstruct enforcement of the bylaw. The new rules are both punishable by a $250 fine.
Under the bylaw, it is an offence to light any fire in any highway allowance, street, lane, square, park or other public place within the municipality, except as so authorized by the fire chief. It is also an offence to discard, throw down or drop any lighted match, cigar, cigarette or other burning substance into — or in close proximity to — combustible material. Both offences come with a $200 fine.
It is also illegal to possess or transport fireworks in Delta at any time without a permit — punishable by a $200 fine — and selling, giving or trading fireworks within the municipality is banned year-round — punishable by a $250 fine. Breaching the conditions of a fireworks possession permit is also a $250 fine.