Council defers vote on banning fireworks

City council will soon consider a bylaw change that would ban the public from lighting low hazard fireworks. File photo.

Local Journalism Initiative 

Low hazard fireworks and sky lanterns could soon be been banned in the City of Prince Albert, except for July 1 and New Year’s.

City council was set to modify the Fire Services bylaw during their Jan. 27 regular meeting, but the decision was deferred in order to allow for better details around timing and the precise wording of the changes. 

“The purpose of banning is (when) people shoot them off at night on any given night (and) it ticks people off. People think it’s gunfire,” Coun. Blake Edwards said. “This is because of the people that do this on a regular basis.” 

Issues were raised in the summer of 2021 with multiple complaints about fireworks being ignited in the middle of the night. 

Edwards proposed the two exceptions of allowing people to shoot off fireworks on private property on two nights a year; Canada Day and New Year’s Eve. 

As it stands, the only restriction is that fireworks are not allowed on City Property. 

“Currently anyone can go buy a firework and shoot it off in the neighbourhood. It’s allowed, so we are doing a major change,” said Edwards. “That’s why I thought I don’t want to make good people bad because they want to have a little firework in their backyard.” 

Coun. Tony Head said he would not support the amendment and his constituents would prefer to have an outright ban with no exceptions. 

He also said that allowing the public to ignite them is a safety hazard.

“My experience is that when individuals who aren’t trained let off fireworks, they’re going to go into the crowd, let alone into the neighbour’s house, the neighbour’s garage,” Head stated. “I think it’s a fire hazard, a huge one. There might be some individuals that do it responsibly, but there’s going to be individuals that pose a risk.”

He proposed instead that the City take on having fireworks on the two excepted days. 

“The best solution is to not have it (exceptions) at all and if we’re going to do it on Canada Day or New Year’s, we do it as a city and not as an individual in the back yard,” he said. 

Fire Chief Kris Olsen said that the department looked at other bylaws across Western Canada to see what other municipalities are doing, they found that times around noise bylaws also became a concern. 

“When we have other municipalities with allowances, they actually shore up responsibilities as well. Responsibilities on a property owner for care, use and discharge of those fireworks,” Olsen said. 

The bylaw will be added to agenda of the next meeting for final reading.