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Vernon council supports allowing propane fires in Polson Park

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Vernon councilor suggests fire pits be allowed in city park' Coronavirus: Vernon councilor suggests fire pits be allowed in city park
WATCH: A Vernon councillor has an outside the box suggestion he thinks could brighten the pandemic winter. He's proposing the city allow families to set up propane fire pits at Polson Park, as long as they are still following limits on social gatherings. – Dec 14, 2020

In a split decision Monday afternoon, Vernon, B.C., city council narrowly supported a proposal to allow propane fire pits in Polson Park.

The proposal was put forward by councillor Scott Anderson, who suggested the portable fire pits could help brighten a dreary pandemic winter.

“It’s going to be a long, cold winter for people,” Anderson said.

“I think it behooves us, as a city, to do what we can for our residents to give them safe outdoor spaces… A lot of people can’t afford to go skiing and do expensive things like that but everyone can afford to sit around a fire.”

Read more: Big White Ski Resort calls on police to ramp up COVID-19 enforcement after community spread

People with whom Global News spoke on the streets of Vernon had a range of opinions on the proposal.

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One woman thought it would bring back a bit of needed spirit to the community that she felt had been crushed during the pandemic.

However, others were concerned it could cause people to gather or would need to be supervised to prevent problems.

Read more: B.C.’s first COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive this week

Under Anderson’s proposal, those enjoying fires would still have to follow limits on social gatherings which, under current restrictions, means groups would be limited to household bubbles.

Anderson believes fires can be allowed in the park between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. without substantially increasing the risk of people gathering or creating a nuisance.

The councillor reasoned there is always the risk of problems in the park even without the propane fire pits being allowed.

“Everything can be abused,” Anderson said.

“If they are going beyond the mandate of this motion, they are doing the same thing as if they lit a fire in Polson Park right now.”

Read more: B.C. seniors’ group calls for equal access to COVID-19 vaccine for those in independent living

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The proposal got support from Vernon council on Monday, but the city is still working on how to implement the idea.

City staff is expected to report back to council on the next steps in mid-January.

Click to play video: 'Vernon Family Resource Centre takes care of parents over holidays to stay connected' Vernon Family Resource Centre takes care of parents over holidays to stay connected
Vernon Family Resource Centre takes care of parents over holidays to stay connected – Dec 12, 2020

 

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