Fireworks fines are up as complaints drop following first city-run Diwali event in Brampton

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Published November 14, 2023 at 10:51 am

The city saw fewer firework-related complaints during Diwali celebrations in Brampton this year compared to record-breaking numbers in 2022 as the city handed out over 100 fines on the weekend.

Brampton held its first Diwali Mela on Sunday, marking the Festival of Lights celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists around the world with a city-run fireworks display.

The city-sanctioned celebration was planned in response to more than 1,000 fireworks complaints received during Diwali celebrations last year, and the numbers show complaints were down while the number of fines issued went up.

A total of 981 fireworks service requests were received by city staff, with some complaints attributed to residents living near the city-led fireworks event at Sesquicentennial Park. But on top of less complaints, the city also stepped up enforcement by handing out 107 tickets for fireworks and public nuisance violations with fines ranging from $300 to $1,000.

The city says it had nearly 30 Bylaw Enforcement Staff, eight Fire Prevention Officers and six Peel Regional Police Officers stationed across the city to assist with “proactive and reactive fireworks-related calls,” along with additional Parks, Security, Public Works and Recreation staff to monitor fireworks across the city.

Brampton brought in a ban on all forms of personal-use fireworks following Diwali in 2022, introducing a $500 fine for setting off fireworks and $1,000 for selling fireworks. The city received a total of 1,491 calls related to fireworks in 2022 with more than 1,000 of those complaints related to Diwali – a sharp increase from 492 fireworks complaints received during all of 2018.

City of Brampton spokesperson Natalie Stogdill said along with a reduction in complaints, Brampton “did not observe the same types of large-scale gatherings and non-compliance issues in plazas and parks that were noted in previous years.”

Peel Regional Police are investigating following a rowdy Diwali celebration at a Mississauga shopping mall parking lot on Sunday. Videos of the gathering posted to TikTok shows hundreds of people gathered outside Westwood Square Mall waving flags and with fireworks heard going off in the background.

Unlike Brampton, Mississauga has not banned the use of personal fireworks and allows residents to legally set off fireworks on their property without a permit on Diwali.

Mayor Patrick Brown said some 20,000 people came out to the Diwali Mela event. And while he admitted “compliance wasn’t perfect,” Brown called the event a “fantastic” improvement from the previous year.

“Let’s keep working together to make this celebration in Brampton both safe, and extraordinary,” Brown said in a post.

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