A London, Ont., woman has started a petition to outright ban the use and sale of fireworks within the City of London in an attempt to limit the use by residents on non-designated dates and times.
“I saw a need to address what was happening in my community and communities across London, with residents being upset over the frequency of fireworks discharged, not just on Canada Day and Victoria Day, but it has been going on routinely throughout the summer,” said Londoner Deanna Ronson.
Ronson’s petition, which has gained over 1,400 of the 1,500 signature goal as of Saturday afternoon, is asking Mayor Ed Holder and City Council to “consider the negative impact of traditional fireworks on the environment and on human and pet health.”
According to the City of London Bylaws, people are only permitted to set off fireworks between dusk and 11 p.m. on Victoria Day and Canada Day.
People are also permitted to set off fireworks on the Saturday before Canada Day if it falls on a Monday or Tuesday, and on Saturday after Canada Day if the day falls on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
Ronson admitted a total ban on fireworks is hard to enforce.
“If we reduce the amount of easy access, I think we can reduce the problem residents are experiencing with fireworks going off all the time.”
She said there is the potential to get fireworks that are known for being silent or not as loud, but a representative with the Canadian National Fireworks Association (CNFA) said, “the only silent firework is a sparkler.”
Throughout the pandemic, the CNFA has reported an increase in the interest in fireworks.
The director of government relations and communications for the CNFA, Aleem Kanji, said an outright ban will not work.
“Our experience across the country dealing with this is bans don’t work — people will buy from neighbouring communities, they will use them and purchase them online,” Kanji said.
In response to people using fireworks during none prohibited times, Kanji said the association has launched the “Be a Good Neighbour” campaign across Canada.
The aim of the campaign is to educate people on the rules around public safety and educating people about local bylaws.
“(Fireworks are) certainly ingrained in Canadian culture, it’s steeped in tradition when you look at Victoria Day or Canada Day,” Kanji said.
Once Ronson meets her signature goal, she said the next step is gaining the support of at least three city councillors in order for it to be brought forward on the council agenda.
At this stage, she has yet to speak to any councils in support of the total ban.