Hamilton temporarily bans sale and use of fireworks — even sparklers

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Published May 14, 2020 at 11:55 am

Hamilton City Council has voted to support a bylaw that temporarily bans the sale and use of fireworks in Hamilton until at least July 4.

Hamilton City Council has voted to support a bylaw that temporarily bans the sale and use of fireworks in Hamilton until at least July 4.

At Wednesday’s (May 13) virtual council meeting, a bylaw amendment put forward by the city solicitor and under direction from Hamilton’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), recommends the immediate prohibition on the sale and discharge of fireworks just days away from the first long weekend of the summer.

Hamilton Fire Chief Dave Cunliffe told councillors that the ban is a response to the global pandemic and the concern that fireworks displays encourage people to gather.

“They do create large gatherings,” he said. “We’ve seen where families pool their resources for these types of neighbourhood displays.”

Cunliffe added that for all the people who enjoy fireworks, there are those who consider them a nuisance and that creates further problems for first responders.

“The cardboard and casings from fireworks sometimes land on cars or in backyards or on homes,” he said. “This then creates issues between neighbours.”

When/if complaints are filed, Cunliffe said staff are then deployed to ‘non-emergency-type’ situations.

Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla voiced his enthusiastic endorsement of the bylaw, suggesting that for many Hamiltonians, fireworks have become a “nuisance.”

Maureen Wilson, Ward 1’s councillor, also pointed out that it seems that as soon as spring comes around, people start setting fireworks off almost every weekend.

“The novelty has worn off,” she quipped.

But for those councillors who aren’t overawed by the display, there were those who were hesitant to endorse this kind of ban at a time when people need to celebrate the most.

“Why are we doing this now when we need this kind of celebration?” asked Ward 11 Councillor Brenda Johnson.

“People are desperate for the celebration. It’s going to happen.”

For those who choose to flout the bylaw, it comes with a hefty fine.

Residents found to be acting not in accordance with the temporary ban will be subject to a penalty of $500. Penalties apply to residents, businesses and non-residents, a press release from the city says.

The temporary ban also includes the use of sparklers, which the government of Canada classifies as consumer fireworks.

After July 4, the temporary ban will be lifted but the standard regulations will apply. Under Hamilton’s standard fireworks bylaw: “no person shall set off family fireworks except on Victoria Day and Canada Day and the two days immediately preceding and following each of those days.”

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