Still no bylaw to govern use of fireworks in Mono

October 6, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By JAMES MATTHEWS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The issue of regulating fireworks usage in Mono will smoulder as part of unfinished business until the next council meeting.

Town council took steps during its Sept. 27 meeting toward a bylaw to set out times and rules for using fireworks in Mono.

There is no general consensus among other Ontario municipalities on how to govern the use of fireworks, other than basic prescriptions for their safe use.

Most municipalities allow fireworks but regulate days and hours when they can be used.

At a Mono council meeting in March, council directed staff to solicit input from residents on a draft bylaw to regulate the use and sale of display and consumer fireworks.

Staff prepared digital and print versions of a survey to be distributed to residents. About 1,000 copies of the survey were delivered to residents via the July water billing mailout and another 4,052 copies of the survey were delivered through an advertising mailout. The survey was advertised on the municipality’s social media avenues.

The out-reach effort garnered 484 submissions from residents. The online survey accepted responses until Aug. 8 with small number of hardcopy surveys received afterwards.

There’s federal legislation that governs the use of fireworks and explosives and other pyrotechnics. But, at the municipal level, there’s little direction about the over-the-counter flash-bang means of a spectacle.

Well, at least there’s basic courtesy.

“I try to not do things that are going to bother my neighbour,” said Coun. Ralph Manktelow. “Obviously, you can’t put off fireworks without it bothering your neighbour.”

Many people feel fireworks are part of our culture and, Coun. Manktelow said, that needs to be recognized. People enjoy them on Victoria Day, Canada Day, the dawn of the new year, and even Labour Day. But people can also set them off into the night sky whenever the impulse alights in them.

“This is something that has been done for many years and people feel it’s an important part of their lives,” Manktelow said. “The other [thing] is that it is disruptive and we have to put a limit, I think, on the timing and other aspects (like) the number of fireworks.”

Coun. Melinda Davie said effectively regulating fireworks’ use may be a matter of adequate public engagement.

“I think it’s a communication thing,” she said. “We need to put the rules out there for more [people] to be able to see so they can follow whatever it is that we decide in the end.”

Coun. Sharon Martin suggested regulating something like fireworks is akin to a fool’s errand.

Fireworks are typically used late at night. And the dearth of enforcement during those late hours gives rise to indifference among firework users.

“I think we can put out as many rules as we want, but still people don’t look for that information on what they can do because they just want to do it,” Martin said.

Engagement works both ways, she said: If you were to put off fireworks, why would you not find out what’s permitted and what the rules are?

“If they don’t follow the rules, I suspect we won’t be able to enforce this,” said Deputy Mayor Fred Nix.

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