While the city council debate around backyard fire pits has cooled for now, the issue is flaring passions among Saskatoon residents.
A petition is now circulating on Change.Org to “save” the city’s backyard fire pits from any potential bylaw changes.
“Don’t let the voice of a few, override the voice and reason of the entire city,” the petition reads, calling on Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark to not change the rules around backyard fire pits.
The petition was created Monday night after a council committee tasked the fire department with a review of their fire pit bylaws.
As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, the petition had garnered nearly 2,700 signatures.
John Hickey, one of the petition’s organizers, said he was surprised by the response.
“We were aiming for 100 signatures,” he said. “I’m sure for every 30 complaints there’s hundreds of people who love enjoying a backyard fire.”
Hickey, 33, said he’s had fires both at his parents’ and his own home in South Nutana over the years, and has never had a problem.
“These people who are complaining are unwilling to engage in healthy neighbourhood conflict,” he said. “Go talk to them instead of calling the police or whatever.”
Signees also questioned why council would consider changes, saying 190 complaints in a year is small when considering the city’s size.
“Let’s not take away something enjoyable from the many,” Trish McArthur wrote.
Others touted the reasons they have backyard fires, saying it brings their family closer together.
“I enjoy sitting around fire and roasting hot dos and chatting with friends and family,” Cara Ptolmey wrote.
“People pay taxes and deserve to be able to enjoy themselves in their own backyards.”
The city is looking at their bylaws after passionate pleas from several residents and the Lung Association of Saskatchewan.
They told the planning, development and community services committee smoke from wood fires had significant health impacts on neighbours, especially those in vulnerable states.
There is no timeline on when the fire department report will be complete.