An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
HALLOWEEN WILL BE WITHOUT fireworks in Kamloops this year, thanks to a decision by Kamloops Fire Rescue.
Due to warm weather and a lack of rain this fall, fireworks won’t be allowed. The fire department admits it might not be a popular decision but it’s a necessary one due to the risk of interface fire within City limits.
The weather was also blamed for cancelling Canada Day fireworks this past summer.
The fine for ignoring the ban on private fireworks is $250. No doubt, some people will ignore the ban and set off fireworks anyway. Because, well. it’s fun.
Instead of doing that, they should consider the problems caused by fireworks. Just after New Year’s Day at the start of the year, I wrote about the dangers and tragedies of fireworks, including dogs and farm animals who panic and run, sometimes with fatal results.
They also cause structural or ground fires and injuries, and can trigger PTSD.
The City has been looking at a permanent prohibition on the sale and use of fireworks within city limits and it should speed up that review. The current bylaw — which follows provincial law — allows fireworks between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1 and between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. With exceptions like the Halloween ban this year, of course.
There’s a big difference between community sponsored fireworks displays managed by trained experts who can handle them safely, versus the private backyard versions set off by your next-door neighbour.
A permanent ban on the latter would put the temporary fireworks stores that spring up at Halloween and New Year’s out of business but safety is more important.
It’s now been almost 10 months since the City decided to look into it. There’s no reason it shouldn’t have been studied, vetted through the City’s complicated committee structure, and brought to council for a decision by now.
And that decision should be, ban them year-round.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.