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Rothesay to ban consumer fireworks

By Brad Perry Jul 18, 2023 | 7:07 AM

Rothesay is moving to ban the sale and use of consumer fireworks within the town.

Town councillors voted 4-3 last week to direct staff to come back with a draft bylaw.

Council will also “encourage” the neighbouring town of Quispamsis to do the same.

In June, council received a letter from a resident raising concerns about the safety, noise disturbance, fire risk and environmental impacts of fireworks.

The matter was sent to the chief of the Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department, who was asked to provide a report to council.

Chief Mike Boyle provided council with several options to consider, which included an outright ban, only allowing consumer fireworks on specific days and times, or maintaining the status quo.

“Although there have not been any significant fires or injuries as the result of fireworks in the Kennebecasis Valley, they do result in documented cases of fire and injury,” Boyle wrote in his report.

Boyle said that shooting off fireworks can cause a nuisance but acknowledged it is “impossible” to measure the extent.

Coun. Dave Brown said he thinks enforcing a fireworks ban in the town would be challenging to do.

“I don’t think it’s something that we’d be able to police too much. By the time they’re done, somebody has called, it’s hard to prove where they came from,” said Brown.

Town manager John Jarvie said having different rules throughout the Kennebecasis Valley could also be challenging for enforcement.

The Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department and Kennebecasis Regional Police Force serve both Rothesay and Quispamsis.

“It makes it difficult for one of the two towns to have bans that the others don’t share. Not impossible, but it does have implications,” said Jarvie.

For example, Jarvie said if Rothesay banned the sale of fireworks, residents could still purchase them in Quispamsis.

Quispamsis did consider banning consumer fireworks in the town last year but eventually decided to hold the line on its current bylaws.

RELATED: Quispamsis holds the line on consumer fireworks

“I think if we make this motion and it passes, it’s just going to be a whole lot of work for town staff and nothing will change,” said Coun. Peter Lewis.

Coun. Bill McGuire said he knows a ban will not stop all fireworks, but it will give the town more power to deal with complaints.

“I think there will be a certain amount of people who will just say, ‘OK, well I’m not going to bother because there is a ban on them,’ but there’s still going to be people who are going to do it anyway,” said McGuire.

Council also voted to conduct a social media campaign surrounding fireworks, something the majority of councillors appeared to agree with.

“Fireworks are really dangerous. I have witnessed young kids playing with them and was scared to death,” said Coun. Tiffany Mackay French.

Town staff will come back to council at a later date with a draft bylaw, which would include details on when the ban would take effect.


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