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The explosive debate continues: Should Vancouver ban Halloween fireworks?

Click to play video: 'Vancouver council discusses motion to ban retail fireworks’ sales in city' Vancouver council discusses motion to ban retail fireworks’ sales in city
WATCH: The City of Vancouver is debating a motion that would see retail sales of consumer fireworks banned beginning in 2021. Grace Ke reports – Oct 23, 2019

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.

READ MORE: Where can you buy, sell or use Halloween family fireworks in Metro Vancouver?

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.

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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.

“It’s a public safety issue,” he said.  “We’ve had houses burn in the city, we’ve had dogs killed due to fireworks being set off, we’ve had people injured, lose their eyesight.”

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“Virtually everybody that you ask about this seems to find it a virtual disruption and annoyance, and we just don’t need it.”

WATCH: Staying safe at Halloween celebrations this weekend

Click to play video: 'Staying safe at Halloween celebrations this weekend' Staying safe at Halloween celebrations this weekend
Staying safe at Halloween celebrations this weekend – Oct 26, 2018

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.

READ MORE: Keep it spooky, keep it safe, say Vancouver police as Halloween approaches

Any change in fireworks policy would need to go through Vancouver’s newly-elected city council.

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Mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart was unavailable for comment on the matter.

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