City of Vancouver shares draft plan for upcoming fireworks ban

Jun 3 2020, 4:13 pm

The City of Vancouver has revealed further details as to what its upcoming fireworks ban might look like.

Last November, City Council approved a motion to ban both the use and sale of retail fireworks in the city. The motion, which was introduced by Councillor Pete Fry, argued that the police face escalating calls for fireworks in the five days leading up to Halloween. He also stated that the average cost of damages from consumer fireworks adds up to $379,000 per year.

During next week’s City Council meeting, the city’s draft plan for the ban, which was created by staff, fire rescue, and police, will be presented in front of the council.

Based on the draft plan, the upcoming ban will be implemented through a two-pronged approach.

The use of fireworks will remain legal for Halloween during October 2020. Any vendors that sell fireworks, however, will be required to close their businesses by October 31 at 6 pm, as opposed to midnight.

“Experience has shown that vendors try to sell as much firework as possible before midnight,” reads a staff report. “The proposed earlier closing time of business at 6 pm would ensure that consumers have sufficient time to handle and set up their fireworks properly and safely.”

Allowing fireworks to be used for one more year would also allow for the industry to “adjust and manage remaining stock,” according to the report.

For October 2020, the report also recommends that the fine for violating rules surrounding fireworks be doubled from $500 to $1,000.

The second and final step will take place after October. The City will eliminate the permit system and process that allows for consumer-grade fireworks to be purchased by the public.

The upcoming ban, however, won’t apply to large-scale city events and holidays that have certified fireworks technicians, such as New Year’s Eve, Canada Day, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and the Celebration of Lights.

The proposed by-law amendments would only apply to the sale of fireworks in Vancouver — it can’t be enforced in other municipalities. Staff also add that there aren’t any expected financial risks at hand.

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