DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: The City of Kawartha Lakes has passed a bylaw restricting the days and times residents can fire off consumer fireworks.
Kawartha Lakes councillors saw the new bylaw at a meeting on Tuesday, May 18th.
Now, consumer fireworks can only be discharged between dusk and 11 p.m. on Victoria Day, Canada Day, Family Day, Indigenous Peoples Day, Labour Day and New Years Eve. Also, people will be allowed to fire off fireworks the day preceding and following each of these holidays.
“Should residents wish to use fireworks outside of authorized days, a consumer fireworks permit for a special event must be obtained,” a Kawartha Lakes press release explained.
Ward 1 Councillor Emmett Yeo questioned if birthdays or anniversaries qualify as a special event in the permit process.
“If you’d like to have any event or special event [which] involves fireworks, you have to get a permit to do that,” Fire Chief Mark Pankhurst explained. “That takes us right back to the original reason why we amended this, because fireworks were going off at all different dates and times, and it was creating problems for vacationers, for farmers with livestock, and stuff like that. This bylaw tightens it up.”
Ward 2 Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan was concerned whether the city’s current bylaw force could effectively enforce this new bylaw.
“[Are bylaw officers] going to be going out to all of these [fireworks situations], when they can’t go out to what they have already?” Mayor Andy Letham explained, the bylaw department will treat this bylaw like all other city bylaws, responding to situations whenever it is possible for them to do so.
In a statement, Fire Chief Pankhurst explained why efforts were made to regulate firework use in the municipality.
“Fireworks are often used to help celebrate special days or events and although they are entertaining, they are dangerous and require safety precautions when in use,” his statement read. “With the new restrictions, we hope to reduce the amount of calls for complaints of disturbances to people and animals, and ensure safe practices are always top of mind.”
For more information on how to get a consumer firework permit, go online to www.kawarthalakes.ca.