KAWARTHA LAKES – For those looking to celebrate a special occasion with a display of fireworks, a permit may be required as council has recently amended the existing By-law.
And while many celebratory events will come with new guidelines and regulations, the new By-law has also stated that holidays such as Victoria Day, which is around the corner, will not require a permit.
“I do agree that we need to do something, ensuring there isn’t fireworks going off 24/7,” said Councillor Kathleen Seymour Fagan. “I don’t think it’s going to be easily enforceable as our bylaw and licensing departments are already overwhelmed with calls. I also feel that this has to come with a major communications effort to be clear on when and where fireworks can be done.”
The new By-law states that permits for consumer fireworks will not be required on specific holidays and times.
The By-Law will restrict the times of discharge of consumer fireworks between dusk and 11:00 pm and listed the following holidays as they will not require a permit.
- Victoria Day, including the day preceding and following Victoria Day
- Canada Day, including the day preceding and following Canada Day
- Family Day, including the day preceding and following Family Day
- Aboriginal Day, including the day preceding and following Aboriginal Day
- Labour Day, including the day preceding and following Labour Day
- New Years Eve, including the day preceding and following New Years
The By-Law will also include a special event permitting process, a registry for the publication of the date and location of permitted events and a provision for penalties and fines to be imposed for contravention of the By-Law.
According to Mark Pankhurst, Fire Chief, any kind of special event, outside of the outlined dates, will require a permit.
“If you would like to have any kind of special event that involves fireworks, you have to get a permit, that’s why we amended it, fireworks were going off at all different dates and times and it was creating problems for vacationers and farmers with livestock,” he said. “This by-law tightens it up, we want people to have fun but at the same time this is helpful. Resident can log into the website if they have livestock or concerns, they can see where active permits are and a time frame and then they can make provisions for safety of their livestock and things like that.”
Fire Service staff are also working with the GIS Division to develop a map for public use that integrates with the permit system. The map will enable the public to view dates and locations of fireworks events that permits have been issued for.
According to Mayor Andy Letham, complaints regarding fireworks have always been a regular occurrence.
“I get the complaint randomly from across municipality where people are setting off fireworks, they live in in the country or at the cottage and they feel like they can set off fireworks because nobody is going to mind,” he said. “We are just trying to put a little control around that, nobody wants to take away anybody’s fun but controlling when and where they do it.”
Mayor Letham noted that bylaw officers will respond accordingly, when they can. To further notify residents of the changes, a note will be inserted into the next final tax bill, explaining that the by-law for fireworks has been changed and a reference to the new by-law will also be included, he said.
“Based on the number of calls I get every year from various people, it seems like some people want to set them off every weekend and it is a problem for their neighbours and others, I happy to see this in place,” said Councillor Doug Elmslie.
For more information visit kawarthalakes.ca.