For many people in Vancouver, setting off Halloween fireworks is an annual tradition.
For others, however, it’s an annual headache that sets their teeth on edge and sends their pets cowering.
With the holiday fast approaching, the perennial debate over whether or not the noisy, colourful displays are appropriate has cropped up once again.
Vancouver is actually unusual in its attitude to fireworks on Halloween — they are legal to use on private property with a permit on Oct. 31.
Many of the city’s closest neighbours have put an end to the public’s use of fireworks, including every municipality south of the Fraser, while several others such as Burnaby and New Westminster ban their sale but not their use.
The debate over fireworks exploded once again early Friday morning, when an illegal downtown fireworks display set social media alight with complaints, and sparked calls to police from neighbours who believed it to be a shooting.
“We were able to confirm through a variety of methods that it was indeed fireworks… including Twitter,” said Vancouver police Const. Jason Doucette.
“But we did take the precautions, we took precautions, we did an area search for people.”
Vancouver resident Chris Baisley has been gunning for a fireworks ban for several years, and has created a petition that’s attracted more than 2,500 signatures.
“Virtually everybody that you ask about this seems to find it a virtual disruption and annoyance, and we just don’t need it.”
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However, implementing a ban could be an uphill battle, and could come with unintended consequences, according to Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Capt. Jonathan Gormick.
“The use of fireworks is so culturally ingrained in Vancouver, so the city feels that banning it would just drive the sale underground,” he said.
Any change in fireworks policy would need to go through Vancouver’s newly-elected city council.
Mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart was unavailable for comment on the matter.