Kootenay Lake fireworks motion fizzles

A proposal to look at regulating fireworks around the outlet of Kootenay Lake has been shelved.

Fireworks light up the sky over Nelson during Canada Day celebrations this year. The regional district has abandoned a motion to look at regulating fireworks use in the area around Balfour

A proposal to look at regulating fireworks around the outlet of Kootenay Lake has been shelved.

Last February, regional district director Ramona Faust introduced a motion directing staff to find out where responsibility lied for fining people who set off fireworks in forest fire season and to study the safety risk posed to Balfour, Harrop, and Procter residents. Staff were also asked to investigate how much a permitting and control service would cost.

However, no action was taken and this week the motion was purged from the books. Faust says she isn’t likely to reintroduce it unless there’s a groundswell of community support.

“If citizens are interested in a fireworks bylaw, they need to generate a petition and a substantial number would need to respond in favour for us to consider a bylaw,” she said. “Unless someone leads the petition, I won’t bring it back to the table.”

Faust said a “vigorous discussion” on a community email list in September suggested residents were about evenly split on the idea of a bylaw or some type of control over fireworks.

“It’s very hotly contested,” she said, adding that while noise is the most common complaint, the bigger concern is over fireworks being set off during a fire ban.

One neighbouring regional district — Columbia Shuswap — has a fireworks bylaw in three electoral areas that bans their use without a permit and limits them to celebrations such as Canada Day, New Year’s, and Halloween.

A Balfour merchant who sells fireworks told the Star early this year it was much ado about nothing, whereas Faust called it “an incredible problem.”

This week Faust said the issue hasn’t gone away. Although she isn’t sure why nothing happened with her motion, she admitted it’s difficult to manage fireworks in a rural area, given that bear bangers, gunshots, and other things can sometimes create the same amount of noise.

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