The sale and purchase of fireworks within Leduc County is now being regulated after County Council passed a new bylaw at their May 6 council meeting.
“Our goal is to control the activation of fireworks and how they’re being sold,” said Fire Marshall Brad Gurmin.
Gurmin told council the current sale and use of low-hazard fireworks was not in line with the Safety Codes Act and that the new bylaw was similar to other bylaws in the area.
Low-hazard fireworks are those available for sale to the general public. High hazard fireworks, like those used by municipalities on Canada Day, require higher licensing to purchase.
“Right now, anybody can sell fireworks to anyone,” he said.
Under the new bylaw, fireworks vendors in the county must obtain written permission and a permit from the Leduc County fire department and undergo an inspection of the facility where the fireworks will be sold and stored. Gurmin will be conducting inspections with current vendors in the county over the next month.
Anyone wanting to purchase low-hazard fireworks must also receive written permission from the department prior to buying fireworks, and vendors must record information relating to each purchase, including the buyer’s name and address, and the date and time the fireworks are to be set off. Permits will be good for one year from the date they are issued and will be issued by local fire chiefs.
“We had a regional fire marshals meeting. I presented my bylaw to them, and they said it was pretty much in line with everybody else in our immediate area.”
Division Seven Councillor Audrey Kelto was not happy with the plan, saying it would be difficult to enforce and was infringing on people’s ability to enjoy themselves.
“You are infringing on my right to have fun,” she said.
While Gurmin did say it would be difficult to enforce the use of fireworks, his focus with the bylaw was on the sale.
“This bylaw is not about enforcement, it’s about the sale,” he said.
To date, no fireworks have caused large scale fires and that is where Gurmin’s focus will be, saying unless complaints related to fire hazards are his jurisdiction. Any other complaints, like disturbing the neighbours, is outside his area.
“Life is changing folks,” said Division Three Councillor John Schonewille. “It’s time for us to grow up and be safe for the majority of people.”
Council unanimously passed the bylaw, which took effect May 6.