Fireworks could be banned in Mont-Tremblant, Que., starting in April

Due to environmental concerns, Mont-Tremblant has voted to stop using fireworks during celebrations. (CBC - image credit)
Due to environmental concerns, Mont-Tremblant has voted to stop using fireworks during celebrations. (CBC - image credit)

The municipality of Mont-Tremblant in the Laurentians is preparing to ban all fireworks on its territory, making it among the first in Quebec to do so according to the Union des municipalités du Québec.

A motion to ban all fireworks was introduced at city council on Monday, toughening up the existing bylaw which requires people to obtain a permit before setting off fireworks. The motion is expected to be adopted on April 10 and will likely be implemented two weeks after that, according to Mont-Tremblant's deputy mayor, Dominique Laverdure.

The municipal council had already decided in February the city wouldn't use fireworks in this year's Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations but decided to go a step further this month and ban the explosives outright in the name of protecting the environment.

"It's like sending a little chemical bomb in the environment," says Laverdure about setting off fireworks. "All the pieces fall. It could create forest fires, it goes back into our lakes, it goes back into the ground. It scares our animals."

These are all concerns echoed by Vincent Causse, the director for environment and sustainable development in the municipality.

"They contain several chemical products like perchlorate, most notably," he says adding, these can contaminate air quality.

The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press

The Association québécoise de la lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique, an organization fighting air pollution, has praised the move. The organization's president, André Bélisle, hopes other jurisdictions will follow suit.  

"Sulphur particles are emitted that can be bothersome for people particularly children, seniors and people with respiratory or cardiac conditions," he says about the aftermath of a firework explosion.

If the motion is adopted, under the new rules, the penalty for setting off fireworks in the municipality of Mont-Tremblant would take the form of a fine, though the amount has not yet been defined.

Reinventing the party

The rule would of course affect Saint-Jean Baptiste Day and Canada Day celebrations, which are usually accompanied by the multicoloured blasts in the night sky. But, Laverdure says, fireworks don't serve much of a purpose beyond accentuating a good party and there are ecologically friendlier ways to celebrate.

"We're going to reinvent the party," she says. "We can have a beautiful light show in the sky, but it doesn't have to come with a price for our nature."

At this year's Saint-Jean-Baptiste celebrations, residents of Mont-Tremblant will be able to enjoy a music and light show at midnight instead of the usual fireworks. Laverdure says she's sure it will be just as spectacular and that residents will go home proud of having celebrated without harming the environment in that way.

"We hope that we inspire other cities to follow," says Laverdure. "I think it's a small gesture that can be done with a huge impact."