The District of Port Hardy’s bylaw states you need a permit to use fireworks on Halloween, but how many people actually follow it?
The district issued 13 fireworks permits this year, which is up from nine that were issued in 2019.
The district’s fireworks bylaw (which was adopted in 2010) was updated in February of 2020 with stricter regulations, which Chief Administrative Officer Heather Nelson-Smith noted was “just a clarification on consumer versus display fireworks.”
Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas added the intent behind updating the bylaw was “to limit the use of fireworks to particular days.”
Social media was lit up with numerous complaints about fireworks being set off in the North Island the entire week of Halloween, and Dugas said he understands residents’ frustrations, but isn’t sure what the district can actually do about it if formal complaints aren’t being made.
He noted while the district hasn’t been “as successful as we were hoping to be” with curbing firework usage to specific hours on Halloween night, their primary concern continues to be “public safety and limiting damage — we don’t want places catching on fire and people getting hurt.”
Dugas stressed again that due to Port Hardy only having one bylaw officer/building inspector, in order for district bylaws to be effective people need to put in formal complaints.
“We can’t afford to hire people to drive around looking for bylaw infractions, if somebody phones in with a complaint then we investigate it.”
Above all else, Dugas wanted the residents of Port Hardy to know that “the district is not trying to tell people not to have fireworks, because they are a fun thing to use, but just have consideration for other people. Fireworks can be quite disturbing to young families, animals and elderly people.”