Lighting fireworks in a residential area is just not a smart idea. (Photo submitted)

Red Deer’s proposed new fireworks bylaw goes back to the drawing board

It won’t be passed before Canada Day, but explosives sales are still restricted

A new proposed municipal fireworks bylaw will be returning to Red Deer city council after the last attempt fizzled.

But it likely won’t be back before Canada Day, said protective services director Paul Goranson.

This doesn’t mean the July 1 holiday will be a free-for-all when it comes to fireworks sales, however.

“Consumers have not been able to buy fireworks here in the last 30 years,” said Goranson, who noted a federal fireworks regulation that bans the sale of dangerous explosives to unauthorized members of the public will be in effect until a local fireworks bylaw is passed.

He hopes to get a revised fireworks bylaw back before city council by this fall.

The proposal that was defeated by council earlier this spring was consistent with what local laws have been up to now, said Goranson.

But some council members were reconsidering the status quo after receiving a letter from John Adria, of Uncle John’s Fireworks in Edmonton, who felt the proposed bylaw was too restrictive and noted there were only two fireworks-related injuries in 10 years in Alberta.

Council’s vote was evenly split (in the absence of one councillor) between those who wanted more opportunities for sellers of sparklers and other small fireworks, and those who preferred to stand behind public safety and ban all fireworks sales.

An amendment that would have exempted sparklers from a new municipal bylaw was defeated on April 15 — as was the original bylaw presented to council by Red Deer Fire Chief Ken McMullen that would have prohibited all fireworks sales within city limits.

Given this division on council, Goranson said his staff will have to try to find a better balance between these two divergent perspectives when they draft the next proposal.

In the meantime, he hopes anyone who finds fireworks to purchase — and Goranson acknowledged that some people must be finding them somewhere, since blasts can be heard in some neighbourhoods around Canada Day or New Year’s Day — is cautious about preventing injuries and keeping them away from children.

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