A petition requesting the reinstatement of the Goose Spit Fire Pit program has garnered more than 3,000 signatures.
Brennan Day and Heather Corra shared some comments from signatories as they discussed the issue Monday with Comox Valley Regional District directors.
“This is not a partisan issue, nor should it be, this is a family issue,” Day said at the Sept. 19 Electoral Area Services Committee meeting. “Please consider how this program affects all Comox Valley residents.”
In 2017, the district banned beach fires at Goose Spit due to fire conditions around B.C. and to an extreme fire rating locally. Late last year, the district told the Record it hoped to have fire rings back in the spring of 2022. The website says a fire ban has been in effect from Aug. 4 until further notice, and that beach fires are not permitted in CVRD parks. However, park visitors may use barbecues, hibachis and portable propane fire rings.
Corra said many signatories said the program provides an affordable family activity that gets people outside. Others noted the mental health benefits of beach fires. One person noted that Campbell River has 18 miles of beach fire rings along the waterfront.
The alternative is for teens to set fires illegally elsewhere.
“Let’s keep family fun part of the community,” one person wrote.
Area A director Daniel Arbour and Area C director Edwin Grieve said the item can be explored at budget time.
“As you say, there’s a lot of social value there,” Grieve said, noting the district had provided wood when the program ran. “It was well maintained. I think the $70,000 we allowed, we could probably shave down a bit.”
He expects the Town of Comox “may be prone to partner up” with the program.
“I think it’s a doable thing,” Grieve said. “You can colour me in on this one.”
Area B director Arzeena Hamir said the Little River area still has fire rings. She asked if there are potential sites for fire rings in Comox. Corra said they’re allowed at Lazo.
The petition will be emailed to directors.