Fire works may become a thing of the past but for now you can still set the things off in your backyard on two holidays.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 10th, 2020



Sharman hand up

“Let’s just ban them completely”

It was well into the meeting when Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman said he wanted to amend the motion that was on the floor related to the use of fireworks in the city.

“Let’s just ban them completely” he said.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward scurried to get a different message out – pleading with any media that might have tuned into the web cast to not say that the city was thinking of banning fireworks.

Meed Ward at BSCI

With the survey response as split as it was the Mayor had to make sure that she wasn’t offside by too much.

Little wonder that she took that position.

In a Staff report from the Fire department reference was made to a survey done by corporate communications that was said to be limited, we learned that fireworks was a big deal for a lot of people.

More than 50,000 people logged into the Get Involved portal to take part in a survey.

The City’s Corporate Communications and clerks, used the online engagement portal (Get Involved Burlington) to gauge public interest related to fireworks and more specifically around permitted discharge dates for family fireworks.

The poll options were:

Canada day fire works

Gathered on the Promenade in Spencer Smith Park hundreds watch the display – and that’s the way the city wants to keep it.

a. Victoria Day and Canada Day (currently permitted as per By-law 125-1992)

b. No family fireworks

c. Canada Day only, and

d. Victoria Day, Canada Day, Diwali, Chinese New Year and any other day for which a permit has been issued by the Fire Department.

It was clear early on, that the public’s interest level was high. The level of engagement exceeded staff expectations (over 50,000 visits to the site and approximately 46,000 votes).

• Victoria Day and Canada Day (904 votes or 2.0%)

• No family fireworks (23,838 votes or 52.5%)

• Canada Day only (109 votes or 0.2%), and

• Victoria Day, Canada Day, Diwali, Chinese New Year and any other day for which a permit has been issued by the FD (20,585 votes or 45.3%)

The poll indicated that individuals either enjoy fireworks and wouldn’t mind additional discharge dates (45.3%) or they disliked them and would prefer they weren’t allowed at all (52.5%). While the poll is not being used as a deciding factor for the recommendation provided, staff have a better understanding of the amount of interest around the subject of fireworks in the community.

The city had a hot one on its hands and none of the Councilors, with the exception of Paul Sharman, wanted to ruffle feathers.

They settled on permitting family fireworks on Canada Day and Victoria Day.

Queen Victoria

Councillor Kearns pointed out that Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy and that Queen Victoria’s birthday should be recognized – she got her way.

Councillor Kearns argued that Canada was a constitutional monarchy and that Victoria Day matters. The Good Queen got to remain on the list of occasions when you could set off fireworks in a family setting.

Staff had recommended that family fireworks only be allowed during Canada Day celebrations.
This Council didn’t have much in the way of an appetite for fireworks but they could read the data.
They did want to take a hard look at the sale of fireworks – the current bylaws allow them to ban the sale.

In addition, the Fire Chief is authorized to immediately grant exceptions to the discharge dates listed in the fireworks bylaw on a case-by-case basis, which was done specifically for the “festival of lights” (Diwali) on October 29, 2019.

The review of by-laws included the following:

• 125-1992 – Regulating the Sale and Use of Fireworks (Fire)
• 49-2008 – Nuisance and Noise Control (Building/By-law)
• 42-2008 – Business Licensing (Building/By-Law)

All that came out of the Standing Committee was a recommendation – it all goes to City Council on the 23rd.

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