The regional district won’t be banning the sale of fireworks at Halloween any time soon.
Electoral Area C director Edwin Grieve even mused about adding the New Year holiday period in for sales.
He didn’t receive any support for that suggestion at the last electoral areas services committee, but directors have no appetite for banning sales outright.
The district reviewed its fireworks bylaw after Courtenay director and mayor Larry Jangula asked for the electoral areas to “find opportunities for improvement”.
He noted at the time that all three Valley municipalities ban the sale of fireworks “and the people that sell them are just outside the city and as a result of that we get all kinds of complaints from noise to disturbances in areas to dangerous use of these fireworks, to disturbing animals.”
Jangula said the city’s not opposed to controlled fireworks for public events, but rather “random sales” to people, some of whom tend to abuse the devices.
Although the district won’t ban the sale of fireworks, it will tweak its bylaw to allow for increasing fines for exploding fireworks without a permit and requiring vendors to notify the regional district about upcoming fireworks sales to ensure applicable zoning exists and to provide educational and permit information to clients.
Regional district staff had also recommended that permits be available at no charge, to encourage compliance and increase the number of permits submitted.
“People don’t value things that are free,” said Electoral Area C director Edwin Grieve. “Everything carries a cost. We’re the only jurisdiction in the Comox Valley, much to the chagrin of our municipal neighbours, that doesn’t ban sales. A zero fee just says ‘don’t bother’ to me.”
The tweaked fireworks bylaw will require vendors to notify the regional district by Oct. 1 of their intent to sell fireworks. The selling period runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1.
Vendors will be required to provide educational material and permit applications to people buying fireworks.
The fine for discharging fireworks without a permit will increase to $500 from $100.