Regulating fireworks in Rideau Lakes goes back to fire chief for adjustments

Fireworks will get a fine tuning in Rideau Lakes as councillors debate new bylaw inclusions. Photo credit: Pexels.
Posted on: May 29, 2024

A new fireworks bylaw will be tweaked in Rideau Lakes Township to try and curb excessive use of them. 

Gene Richardson, the township’s fire chief, brought his report to council’s committee of municipal services meeting on May 27. The report included a survey conducted last year that showed more than half of the 498 respondents wanted to have year-round fireworks for personal and event use. 

Canada Day and New Year’s Eve topped the list of dates that residents would like to be able to watch or set off fireworks. 

More than 80 per cent of respondents said fireworks should be limited between dusk and 11 p.m.

Concerns about fireworks that were expressed included: 

  • Terrified pets and harmed wildlife;
  • Upset neighbours who didn’t know beforehand; and,
  • Random times going off.

People are now setting off fireworks for birthdays and anniversaries, not just special occasions, committee members heard. 

“It’s not a simple issue for us,” Mayor Arie Hoogenboom said, as it’s almost impossible to do any effective enforcement other than education.

Coun. Marcia Maxwell said she realized it’s difficult with the enforcement, and perhaps someone wanting to complain about it doesn’t know the exact location. 

“I don’t understand why they’re allowed to be sold in every corner store, the back of trucks in parking lots across the province,” she said. 

Maxwell said the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations is “very involved” with the regulation of fireworks. “Maybe that’s who we’ve got to go back to because I think in a lot of cases it is around the waterfront and cottage properties where people have concerns.”

She also had concerns about lanterns – whether there is a fire ban or not.

“Them going off lit can land on a roof or anywhere at any time and set a building on fire,” she said.  

Coun. Sue Dunfield said after the previous weekend, she is concerned that the bylaw should look at fireworks being set from public docks, the waterfront and floating apparatuses, and maybe they should consider adding such stipulations. 

The chief said it comes back to a matter of enforcement, but he could see education as key in their social media posts. 

Hoogenboom said one of the options available to them, “which is very difficult to enforce,” would be to restrict locations and dates. 

Coun. Deborah Anne Hutchings agreed with Dunfield saying that should be added to the bylaw. “If we state what we want, there are people who do follow the law.”

Hoogenboom added: “I think the key is education rather than regulation.”

The motion was referred back to the chief for fine-tuning of the open-air burning bylaw and the fireworks bylaw. It will come back for future consideration and approval by council.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News