Councillors Larry Evans, Trevor Bolin and Dan Davies voted against it, while Mayor Lori Ackerman and Councillors Gord Klassen, Byron Stewart and Bruce Christensen voted for it, passing by a four to three vote. Bolin said he was in favour with the rest of the bylaw, but it was the provision that says “a person may not sell, offer for sale, give, fire or set off low hazard fireworks, as defined by the Canada Explosives Act within the City of Fort St. John” that he had a problem with.
“Some people misuse them, but they misuse alcohol, they misuse campground fires in their back yard, they misuse their music in their house,” Bolin argues. “I don’t think we should be restricting stores from selling them and I don’t think we should be restricting people from using them.”
“It’s just us trying to enforce something that I don’t think we need to,” adds Davies. “I think we can control it, put some controls in place, and I think that would be a better approach.”
Both Bolin and Davies, along with Klassen, were not at the previous city council meeting when the bylaw was amended to the outright ban from the restricted dates and times it previously included. At that time, Mayor Lori Ackerman questioned both the safety of setting off fireworks and the impact they have on residents’ quality of life. Fire Chief Fred Burrows has also told council that the majority of B.C. communities have similar bans.
The City will still be permitted to use fireworks at civic events, like Canada Day, where there are professionals on hand should there be an issue.