Vancouver votes to ban the sale, use of Halloween fireworks

Click to play video: 'Vancouver city council considers ban on fireworks' Vancouver city council considers ban on fireworks
WATCH: Vancouver votes to ban Halloween fireworks. – Nov 5, 2019

The City of Vancouver is moving ahead with a ban on the sale and use of consumer fireworks.

City staff have been directed to report back next year with a plan to ban the retail sale of the pyrotechnics for 2021.

The motion had initially only called for a ban on the sale of the products, but was amended to include a ban on their general use as well.

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The use of fireworks would not be completely banned — city staff are also being directed to develop exemptions for major events such as Chinese New year, the Celebration of Light or Diwali.

READ MORE: Vancouver council to debate ban on sale of Halloween fireworks

Staff have also been directed to develop a special permit from the city to light off fireworks within the city’s fire bylaw and Canadian explosives regulations.

Those permits would create controlled situations for responsible use of fireworks, said Green councillor Pete Fry, who proposed the ban.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver city councillor proposes consumer fireworks ban' Vancouver city councillor proposes consumer fireworks ban
Vancouver city councillor proposes consumer fireworks ban – Oct 17, 2019

“There’s a specific date and time and location that fireworks can be set off and people can anticipate it and that can be your local church parking lot,” he said.

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Fry’s Green colleague, Coun. Michael Weibe, voted against the motion, arguing it will just push firework sales underground and create enforcement problems for authorities.

“People will still buy them online and they’ll find different places to get them,” Weibe said, “so for me, we’re now going to be spending money trying to ban people or kids lighting off fireworks.”

READ MORE: The explosive debate continues: Should Vancouver ban Halloween fireworks?

Under Vancouver’s existing regulations, fireworks were available for sale to the adults between Oct. 25 and Oct. 31, and were legal to set off on Halloween only.

Click to play video: 'Burnaby looks to ban sale of fireworks' Burnaby looks to ban sale of fireworks
Burnaby looks to ban sale of fireworks – Aug 29, 2016

Fry argued that the previous system was not working well, and that fireworks were costing Vancouver Fire Rescue close to $400,000 a year to deal with.

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Several fires and injuries have been attributed to the use of consumer fireworks in recent years, and in 2016 a dog was killed when it ran onto the SkyTrain tracks after being spooked by fireworks.

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

Fry also argued that fireworks cause distress to pets and people with post-traumatic stress syndrome, as well as creating air pollution.

But the Canadian National Fireworks Association argued that banning the sale will cut consumers off from responsible points of sale, along with the education they provide.

It also argued ending the city’s consumer fireworks purchase permits would result in more kids getting their hands on the products.

-With files from Emily Lazatin

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