An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
I’M NOT BUYING the City’s reasons for cancelling the fireworks display at this year’s Canada Day celebrations.
Certainly, it’s great news that the event is making a return after the COVID-19 pause. Even without the fireworks, it will be a great opportunity for residents to get together again to celebrate our country.
But cancelling the fireworks at this point is jumping the gun. The rationale provided by the City is that they might present a fire hazard. With a month to go before the big day, that’s showing an abundance of caution.
Although it could happen, there’s no indication yet that this summer is going to be a repeat of last year or other disastrous years in our forests.
Nevertheless, some people will be pleased with the decision, either because they, too, worry about the weather, or because they see fireworks displays as generally a dangerous hazard.
A few months ago, I wrote about the latter, noting that fireworks on New Year’s Eve and Hallowe’en result in property damage, environmental damage and injuries, and are hell on animals.
Dogs and horses panic at the noise and bright light and many tragically die as a result. It’s also true that fires have been caused.
But the problem is with private fireworks displays, the kind in which mom and dad go to one of those pop-up fireworks sales places, load up with pinwheels, Roman candles and the like, and set them off in the back yard.
Private fireworks are already restricted in Kamloops, and have been banned altogether in some places. Consumer fireworks need to be prohibited nationwide. In other words, stop selling them on the open market.
In the hands of professionals, and scheduled with plenty of public notice, community fireworks can be safe. Canada Day is one such major event at which they’re appropriate.
If weather conditions suddenly become a major concern, they can be cancelled, but doing so now is an over-reaction.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.