Vancouver fireworks ban comes into effect at midnight after Halloween
VANCOUVER -- It’s been a Halloween tradition in Vancouver, but its days are numbered – and that’s a relief for many residents who are tired of hearing fireworks at all hours of the day and night.
Until now, licenced retailers in the city have been allowed to sell fireworks in the week leading up to Halloween.
Since 2007, people purchasing them have been required to have a city-issued permit and abide by certain rules, including that fireworks only be lit off on Oct. 31 and only on private property.
Earlier this year, city council voted to ban the sale and use of fireworks beginning Nov. 1.
The move was strongly endorsed by Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, which estimates fireworks cause an average of $300,000 to 400,000 each year in the city.
“We can’t literally permit something that we know is going to result in fire damage and injuries every year,” said VFRS spokesperson Capt. Jonathan Gormick.
In October 2015, a stray shot from a Roman candle landed on the porch of a 100-year-old house on Woodland Drive in East Vancouver, igniting a blaze that destroyed the home and nearly killed a man.
“My brother was trapped upstairs,” said homeowner Patricia Mitchell. “The fire department said one more minute and he would be gone. The two cats didn’t survive. They perished in the fire.”
Mitchell says nobody has ever been held responsible for starting that fire.
Fireworks retailers strongly oppose Vancouver’s ban on amateur pyrotechnics, saying they are being punished for the actions of people who choose not to follow the rules.
“We should not be held accountable for the misuse,” said Ashley Marsh, a manager at Phatboy Fireworks. “We do our best to always be on the right side of the law and abide to what the City of Vancouver standard of operation is.”
Anyone caught selling, using, or even possessing fireworks in Vancouver beginning Nov. 1 could receive a fine of up to $1,000.