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Fireworks ban: Vancouver approves motion to stop sale
Published Tuesday, November 5, 2019 3:53PM PST Last Updated Monday, June 8, 2020 2:18PM PDT
VANCOUVER – A motion to stop the sale of fireworks in the City of Vancouver was approved by council Tuesday.
Three opposed, one abstained and seven voted in favour of the motion.
"This has passed with Councillor Wiebe, Councillor De Genova and myself in opposition," said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart in council chambers.
The suggestion was put forth by Coun. Pete Fry.
"It's no fun for people who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Children with neuro divergent and autism, for Veterans, for people fleeing war torn regions for people that have pets,” said Fry.
Fry suggested the ban on sales be implemented in 2021. First, staff should work with Vancouver firefighters and police to come up with a plan to be presented next year, he said. Their report would explore how to enforce a ban, details on exemptions and necessary by-law amendments.
A three-page summary, Fry wrote that each year, calls to the Vancouver Police Department "dramatically increase" in the lead-up to Halloween.
Critics of the bylaw say it will push law abiding citizens to the black market.
"We now don't have the ability to educate the public. They're going to be looking at other avenues online, different municipalities, the US,” said Melanie Sutherland, of the Canadian National Fireworks Association.
Last year, Vancouver firefighters compiled data that suggested the average annual fire loss per year due to fireworks is $379,000.
"They're now going to be even more busy with the ban trying to run around and enforce this,” Sutherland told CTV News.
The ban would not apply to display fireworks, which are designed to be used by professionals. Exemptions might also be made for large public events like New Year's Eve and the Celebration of Light fireworks contest.
"But what we've talked about is Diwali and all the other festivals are really people meeting in their backyards and bringing ten friends,” said Coun. Michael Wiebe, who voted against the motion.
The vote was initially scheduled for the end of October, but it was pushed back after council heard from speakers on both sides of the issue.
A spokesperson for the BC SPCA spoke about the negative impact on domestic and wild animals, while others brought up childhood nostalgia and cultural significance.
Several Metro Vancouver cities already have laws banning the sale of consumer fireworks, including North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows.
Maple Ridge, Richmond, Delta, Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford also have bans, as do Seattle and Victoria.