No fireworks over bylaw in Alberni

The City of Port Alberni is mulling a bylaw that makes it not illegal to sell fireworks but it’s illegal to possess them.

The City of Port Alberni is one step closer to dousing illegal fireworks.

City councillors gave three readings to its new fireworks bylaw at their Sept. 10 meeting.

The new bylaw makes it illegal to possess, use or store consumer or pyrotechnic fireworks. The bylaw makes it illegal for individuals to sell fireworks, but not businesses.

Consumer fireworks include fireworks showers, fountains, golden rain, pin wheels and roman candles. It doesn’t include Christmas crackers, sparklers or toy gun caps.

“In an urban setting there is no safe way to use consumer fireworks without the potential for damaging improvements on neighbouring properties,” fire Chief Tim Pley’s report to council noted.

The bylaw is consistent with that employed in other municipalities, Pley added.

The new bylaw allows for groups wanting to use pyrotechnic fireworks to apply to city council for an exemption.

It’s not illegal to sell fireworks but it’s illegal to possess them. “It looks cool but it doesn’t make sense,” Coun. Jack McLeman said.

The bylaw is all and good but how will it be enforced, Coun. Cindy Solda asked. Pley said that the city’s bylaw enforcement officer doesn’t work at night so enforcement would be deferred to the RCMP.

Councillors Rob Cole and Dan Washington asked  about how liable the city would be.

“Would people sue — probably. Liability — probably not,” city manager Ken Watson said. “One never knows until the judge speaks.”

Speaking in favour of the bylaw, Mayor John Douglas recounted his time as a paramedic, saying that the most traumatic event he was involved with was the death of a 12-year-old in a fireworks incident.“If this prevents that and liability then it’s a good thing,” he said.

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