LONDON, ONT -- Mounting complaints about smoky fire backyard pits sparked a discussion about London’s open air burn bylaw at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“We are going to see more and greater conflict between property owners about this and I already receive reports, complaints, and phone calls on a very regular basis,” explained Councillor Maureen Cassidy.

Cassidy expects the number of complaints will climb as the city continues to grow more dense.

“It is an issue about property ownership and private property rights,” she adds the smoke “is also an issue that’s a serious health concern to various members of our community.”

The bylaw permits small fires between 4 p.m. and midnight, and the smoke must not cause a nuisance to neighbouring properties.

“I hear from people all the time, but I can tell you, the vast majority of people enjoy doing this and they enjoy doing it responsibly,” added Coun. Phil Squire.

Squire tells concerned residents, “If is becomes a nuisance, there are private remedies available to you through the courts.”

While acknowledging they receive a lot of complaints about the health impacts of smoke, councillors felt it was not the right time to review the bylaw.

Coun. Elizabeth Peloza suggested amendments may cut down on complaints.

“Perhaps our solution is enhancement of the current bylaw. I’m certainly not prepared today for a full review of what we’re doing, but obviously it’s a conversation that keeps coming up.”