One of last Island spots allowing beach fires may ban them


The long tradition of beach fires in Lantzville, may soon be a thing of the past as that community gets closer to banning them.
Growing concerns about partiers burning pallets and leaving fires burn has the community considering pouring water on them all together. Skye Ryan reports.

John Garenkooper patrolled the Lantzville beach in front of his home Wednesday, putting out still smouldering beach fires and clearing the piles of wood left behind. Finding pallets still full of nails and removing them to make it safe for the children and dogs that frequent the beach by day.

“Folks bring pallets, wooden pallets all the time,” said Garenkooper.

“And that is (a) really big danger. Because they leave a lot of nails behind,” said the longtime Lantzville resident.

Garenkooper said that is why many of his neighbours are pushing for an all out ban on the long tradition of beach fires in Lantzville. The last community you can find south of Comox still to allow the practice.

“I feel that its changed over the last few years,” said Garenkooper’s neighbour Geri Reamer.

“There are more fires, more frequently and people are less respectful of the beach,” she said.

Reamer said sadly its come down to needing a beach fire ban in the community north of Nanaimo. April 15th, Lantzville council passed second reading of a new bylaw to stop beach fires completely.

“Sad to say I support it even though my grandkids will be disappointed they can’t have a fire,” said Reamer.

Banning beach fires is such a fiery issue in Lantzville that Mayor Mark Swain declined CHEK News’ request for an interview to discuss it. Swain said he doesn’t support the ban and council is divided down the middle.

“I don’t believe it’s our place to dictate to residents,” Councillor Ian Savage told councillors at the District of Lantzville meeting April 15th.

“The beach belongs to all of us and we should all work together to find solutions,” said Savage.

Still, the bylaw only requires one more reading to be adopted and become the ban that some are hoping for, and despite his continued beach cleans, Garenkooper doesn’t want to see completely.
As this community weighs the loss of a unique tradition that’s now part of its identity.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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