Limitations, regulations and exhibitions of next year’s fireworks were discussed as part of a Tiny bylaw review.
The bylaw review discussed during a recent committee of the whole meeting comes after numerous complaints from Tiny residents throughout this past summer, which prompted council to direct staff into reviewing the feasibility of tamping down on the colourful pyrotechnics.
Municipal enforcement department data for fireworks occurrences between January 2019 to October 4, 2021 provided staff with relevant information, as shared through the report to council:
• 103 occurrences (12 - 2019, 29 - 2020, 62 - 2021). • 20/103 (19%) of the occurrences took place within dates fireworks are permitted to be set off. • 83/103 (81%) of the occurrences took place outside of the permitted dates fireworks are permitted to be set off. • 22/103 (21%) charges laid or verbal warnings issued. • 81/103 (79%) no violation or no violation found.
The report stated that either people weren’t aware of fireworks restrictions for usage in the municipality, or that there was “a blatant disregard for the provision of the fireworks by-law”.
Within the changes brought to council, staff highlighted: only permitting fireworks to be set off on New Year’s Eve, New Years Day, Victoria Day and Canada Day, or the day following these specific days in the case of inclement weather.
Changes to the bylaw recommended by staff: only permitting fireworks to be set off on Victoria Day and Canada Day or the day following in case of inclement weather; only permitting those days as well as New Year’s Eve and New Years Day; only permitting the sale of fireworks within the municipality to seven days prior any permitted days; removing the ability to apply for permission to set off consumer fireworks outside permitted days; and increasing the set fine to $300 as a further deterrent.
Mayor George Cornell supported the recommendations and thanked staff including fire chief and director of fire and emergency services Dave Flewelling, as well as chief municipal law enforcement officer Steve Harvey.
“We did get a lot of feedback this year for a bunch of reasons with regards to fireworks in the community,” said Cornell. “I think this, as I understand it, aligns us better with our neighbours in North Simcoe, and I think should help address some of the concerns by tightening the restrictions around the setting off and the sale of (fireworks).”
Coun. Cindy Hastings lamented the response times for bylaw enforcement, and asked Harvey if the recommendations would help mitigate the matter.
“I think by removing the sale of them all year long,” said Harvey, “that’s going to really deal with the impulse buy where somebody can just walk into the store and have the kids tugging at their leg saying ‘get me some fireworks.’ “I’ve fallen into that trap too.”
Hastings also asked if brochures could be handed out with fireworks sales by local retailers as part of a communication strategy.
Flewelling replied that retailers couldn’t be enforced to share that type of material with sales, but that some honourable organizations would more than likely be supportive in sharing bylaw regulations at such times.
Coun. Gibb Wishart requested the matter be passed along to the Tiny short-term rental task force committee.
“That’s a major injection of people from outside the community,” Wishart explained. “Somehow, we’ve got to feed it back through the soon-to-be licensed registered owners of such properties.”
Harvey agreed, adding that the renter’s code of conduct could be considered as well within the draft bylaw.
“I believe there are some municipalities that have outright banned fireworks at a short-term rental property,” Harvey noted.
Council carried the motion which will bring the discussion to the November 24 regular meeting for formal consideration. In addition, a recommendation was added to have the short term rental task force look into a communications brochure for spring of next year.
Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny township’s YouTube channel.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca