Halloween 2019 could be one of the last periods of the year Vancouverites will be able to blow up their own consumer-grade fireworks, if a new motion being considered by Vancouver city council gains traction.
Next week, council is scheduled to deliberate on a motion by Councillor Pete Fry to ban the retail sale of fireworks.
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According to his motion, the Vancouver Police Department faces escalating calls for fireworks-related issues in the five days leading up to October 31, and the average damages and cost from consumer fireworks over the last 12 years is $379,000 per year.
Consumer fireworks are smaller leisure fireworks designed for public use, including noisemakers, ground spinners, sparklers, and some aerial fireworks.
Currently, the municipal government’s policies, last amended in 2007, restrict the purchase and discharge of fireworks to individuals holding a permit, who must be 19 years or older and successfully complete the fire department’s online education and test on the safe handling of fireworks.
The fire bylaw only permits the sale of fireworks between October 25 and October 31 of each year.
Fry says Vancouver is one of the few cities in the region that allows the sale and use of consumer fireworks, as neighbouring cities have banned fireworks due to property damage, injuries, and costs. Cities that have banned consumer fireworks include North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Richmond, Delta, Surrey, Langley, Langley Township, Abbotsford, Mission, Victoria, and Seattle.
If the motion is approved, city staff will work with fire rescue and the police to create a draft plan in 2020 to ban the retail sale of consumer fireworks. The ban would take effect by 2021.
The ban would not affect large-scale display fireworks staged by professionals for public events, such as New Year’s Eve, Canada Day, the Celebration of Light, and cultural and religious occasions like Diwali.