Highlands East could become the next local municipality to restrict fireworks.
Council voted unanimously Sept. 10 to direct staff to bring forward a draft fireworks bylaw. The motion came in response to residents’ concerns about the environmental and noise effects of fireworks, as well as the passage of the Dysart et al fireworks bylaw in June.
Coun. Suzanne Partridge said residents have contacted her about the issue.
“I have brought this to council in previous years,” Partridge said. “We need to take a really hard look at this. Enforcement will be horrendous, so I don’t know where we go. But we need to talk about it, have a serious conversation.”
Members of the Koshlong Lake Association raised the issue. In a letter to council, the members noted Dysart et al’s fireworks restriction – which limits fireworks to select holiday weekends – has split the lake, which is shared between the two municipalities.
“By having both municipalities with similar bylaws in place, Koshlong Lake would be fully covered,” association members Melissa Gordon and Peter Carruthers said. “We offer our very strong support for Highlands East to put in place a stringent fireworks bylaw.”
Acting fire chief Chris Baughman identified several issues with a bylaw, depending on the approach taken by the municipality. He said there could be an economic impact on local stores selling fireworks.
He further said restricting fireworks to certain weekends, like Dysart et al, does not necessarily address the negative environmental impact of fireworks. He added it is not inclusive to people who celebrate different holidays.
But the biggest sticking point identified was enforcing the bylaw, given the challenge of locating perpetrators.
“Don’t write bylaws we can’t enforce. This is an enforcement issue. You could get 10 calls, if we have a total ban, within 10 locations,” Coun. Cam McKenzie said. “Difficult unless someone would own up to doing it.”
Chief administrative officer Shannon Hunter said members of the public would likely want to provide input and present to council on the matter.
“It may be a bylaw that garners a lot of interest,” Hunter said.
The draft bylaw is expected to come before council for discussion at a future meeting.