REPORTING · 20th January 2016
Phyllis Gregg presented to Council on Monday, January 18th on the topic of Fireworks. She thanked Council for giving her the time to present to them.
“I sent a letter to the Mayor which I photocopied,” said Gregg. “With my concerns about fireworks and what’s been going on in the town.”
She explained she was concerned with people using fireworks in residential areas, putting them under cars and throwing them onto people’s properties and roofs. Her biggest concern is with people throwing them onto sheds where people store flammable objects such as gasoline and propane tanks. Another concern is there are a lot of old people living in Kitimat who could be startled by an unexpected firework.
“It’s always been a safe community as I said and I would like to see it that way,” said Gregg.
She added that if a person was launching fireworks, it should be publicised so they could keep their animals in the house. Gregg explained animals are afraid of fireworks and might panic and leave the property. If someone has lost their pet, they are running free and it is difficult for the owner or Animal Shelter to catch them.
“The last thing we need is animals running around this town or even out in the bush,” said Gregg.
Gregg also thought an area away from properties should be designated for fireworks use. She pointed out there is a fireworks bylaw in Kitimat but it is not being used. She asked Council to send a copy of their decision to every household so people cannot say they do not know what the bylaws are.
“I’m hoping the Council will take this into consideration,” said Gregg.
Councillor Larry Walker asked her if she was against fireworks. Gregg replied she was not. He asked her if she wants restrictions on dates and designated locations and public advertising. She replied yes. Walker expressed his dog looks for a place to hide when the fireworks go off.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff asked for a rundown of the existing bylaw. According to CAO Warren Waycheshen, Fireworks can only be sold or discharged from June 22nd to July 2nd, October 24th to November 1st and December 24th to January 2nd.
Councillor Claire Rattee wanted to hear from the RCMP about the issue. However, they were unable to attend the meeting. She stated the Fireworks bylaw was last updated in 1996 and it was due for an update. She added people do not always listen to the rules.
“Adults have to be over 18 to buy fireworks but I have to state, it’s not children that are throwing fireworks, it’s adults so that’s the big thing as well,” said Gregg in response to a question from Councillor Edwin Empinado. “It’s a shame to say, I don’t want the children blamed for this because it isn’t. They have to take responsibility for this as well.”
She stated safety needs to be considered as well and fireworks use is making the community not so safe for people or animals.
Her letter was brought up later in the meeting.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion for staff to come back with a report and recommendations regarding the concerns raised by Gregg.
“There were several issues raised and the biggest issue can be addressed by reducing the permissible times in which the discharge of fireworks is allowed,” said Feldhoff.
He suggested fireworks discharge could be reduced to three nights a year to provide certainty to pet owners with sensitive animals. He felt this was not a question of permitting but a question of enforcement. He felt this would still provide opportunities for joyful firework usage in Kitimat.
Councillor Larry Walker said he would like to see the section of the bylaw with the recommendations. He was told the Fire Department part of the Municipal Code has not been gone through for a while and they were planning on bringing it all back at once but will bring back fireworks for Council to deal with at a later meeting.
Council was told they could prohibit fireworks, permit them every day of the week, or find a place in the middle which is where they were now. Waycheshen wanted to get Council’s input because there were so many different options they could go with.
Acting Mayor Rob Goffinet wanted to get more input from the community as well. The motion for staff to prepare a report was called and carried.
Bing bing boom
Comment by Linda on 10th February 2016
I have nothing against fireworks displays, I know the kids enjoy it , as do many others, but come on. Do I really need to be woken up constantly at 3 am between July1st and New Years? Do people have to listen to them for months? I also don't need hot fireworks on my roof ,or my animals freaking out week after week. Many people have got to the point where they are sick of them because of some peoples inconsideration. Its a shame, but true.
Comment by H.Sanou on 21st January 2016
Councillor Feldhoff suggestions do nothing to remedy when and where fireworks can be set off.
The one day three times a year does not specify a time, does he mean all night? Nor does he seem worried about where the fireworks can be set off. The last time my car, house and shed were covered with hot remnants of the fireworks. A designated area (Alcan beach) comes to mind.
Personally I would like to ban all private fireworks and let the fire hall do it.
how about a full time bylaw officer
Comment by bill on 21st January 2016
For those of you who don't "bylaw enforcement" is the duty of (2) very busy building inspectors, both who will admit they have very little time for bylaw infractions. They don't even have time to ticket cardboard offenders while construction sites are in blatant violation! No need for new bylaw, how about some enforcement!