Following an inquiry from Town of Comox Mayor Russ Arnott, the Comox Valley Regional District has clarified the status of its beach fire program at Goose Spit Park next year.
On Wednesday (Dec. 8), Arnott received correspondence from CVRD Chair Jesse Ketler who noted in an email she had spoken to staff who said they are only going to continue the program where people can use propane fire pits of hibachi barbecues.
Arnott, who at the end of October, received the full support of Comox council with a motion that the town write a letter to the district supporting the continuation of the program, told Ketler the town was preparing their budget for 2022 and asked if the CVRD was going to bring back the beach fire program.
When it was operational, the program had eight designated fire rings on the south side of the CVRD-operated park available on a first-come, first-served basis. The program had been closed due to COVID-19 regulations.
“I’m disappointed, and would like to know the reason – it was a great program,” he noted and added he has inquired with Ketler their reasons behind the decision.
“The CVRD did it without consultation. I’ve been asking this question for months and haven’t gotten a response.”
Following an inquiry with Ketler, on Thursday, (Dec.9), Doug DeMarzo, general manager of community services for the CVRD told the Record the regional district is hopeful to have fire rings back as usual in the spring of 2022 for the enjoyment of the public.
“This is dependent on budget approval which is typical each year. New emerging issues that may impact timing are the availability of contractors willing to manage the program, public health orders with regards to Covid and of course whether it is the right time to be promoting gathering,” he wrote in an email.
He confirmed hibachis and propane barbecues can both be used at Goose Spit.
DeMarzo added decisions are made each year on the possible suspension of the program during extreme fire conditions and the CVRD has to be mindful of conditions.
“At this point, we typically also ask the public to only use propane fires and discourage or prohibit the use of any charcoal burning such as hibachis.”