The Town of Minto is looking to pour water on what some see as the reckless use of fireworks in the municipality.
At Tuesday’s meeting, town councillors pondered a potential bylaw that would restrict when the colourful displays could be set off and limit what kinds of pyrotechnic devices would be allowed. They ultimately decided to get staff to develop a public education campaign to promote the respectful use of fireworks.
“It’s not just Canada Day, it’s not just May 24, it’s whenever they feel they want to set off some fireworks,” Coun Ron Elliott said during the meeting, adding just earlier that day he had received another call from a resident concerned about the issue.
Elliott said constituents have told him the noisy pyrotechnics terrify their animals. One person who works with children reported young Syrian refugees shaking with fear when fireworks were discharged nearby without warning.
“I think it’s crazy, I never know when they’re going to set fireworks off,” Elliott said, asking if the municipality could create a bylaw to regulate firework use.
Size was also a concern.
“Some of these fireworks are getting to be very large,” Mayor George Bridge said, explaining some can be “very dangerous” if not used correctly.
Bridge said he'd talked to other mayors whose communities had similar concerns about fireworks.
The town’s CAO, Derrick Thomson, said fireworks bylaws are common mostly in highly dense municipalities and range from indicating what holidays the devices can be set off on to which location they can be used at.
“But my caution is like everything else, creating a bylaw and trying to enforce it in a wide geographic community such as Minto is difficult,” said Thomson.
Meanwhile, Minto could implement a moratorium on firework sales, said Thomson, but consumers would still be able to purchase them in neighbouring municipalities.
Ultimately the town decided to get staff to create a public education campaign asking people to be respectful and considerate when using fireworks.
Thomson said he hoped to launch the initiative ahead of the August long weekend.
“I think that may be a very good first step,” he said.
Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com