New fireworks and pyrotechnic bylaw to be considered

Sarnia's Canada 150 fireworks July 1, 2017 (photo by Dave Dentinger)

Sarnia council will consider approving a new fireworks and pyrotechnic bylaw Monday.

The bylaw was created in 1999 and last revised 20 years ago, in 2002.

Mayor Mike Bradley said Sarnia Fire Rescue Services reviewed the document because of its age and after receiving a number of complaints and public safety concerns.

“It has been updated a number of times over the years, but it’s been a long time since the last update and obviously there’s been more fireworks out in the community,” said Bradley. “There’s safety concerns there and there are a lot of complaints that come in at different times about fireworks. So, what the fire service is doing is saying, ‘if these activities continue we’re going to bring in some restrictions and fines if you don’t respect your neighbours in the community.'”

Bradley said some of the fines are quite severe.

“Fines can be up to $2,000 if you sell fireworks to someone under 18 years of age, while $300 seems to be the common fine for a number of activities and I’ve always found the fire service [to be] very fair on these type of things, but, if you’re persistent then you will get fined.”

Holding a public display without a permit carries a fine of $500, as does discharging prohibited fireworks.

Mayor Bradley said not only can fireworks be a nuisance to some, they’re also very dangerous.

“Many people every year across North America are injured by fireworks. [So this is] a protection. A lot more complaints have been coming in in the last number of years about their use in neighbourhoods and being used for purposes that aren’t really meant to be neighbourhood friendly.”

A delegation Monday will ask council to consider adding both Diwali and the Lunar New Year to dates allowing fireworks displays in the city.

Bradley thinks that idea has merit.

“Well actually on Diwali, I raised that with the fire service because I met with a group of international students who said, ‘we’re not acknowledged in this bylaw.’ As our community continues to become more diverse and changes, we should be looking at these particular occasions which are important to different communities.”

Meantime, having a pyrotechnic display at an event without requesting and ensuring a ‘Fire Watch’ is present carries a fine of $2,000.

Using pyrotechnics without a permit comes with a $1,000 fine and failing to remove debris and unused pyrotechnic special effect fireworks within 24 hours of an event carries a $300 fine.

The full list of proposed fines can be found here.

Sarnia council’s in-person regular meeting starts in council chambers at 1 p.m.