Rothesay, N.B. moves forward in shutting off the lights on fireworks

Click to play video: 'Rothesay, N.B. councillors move forward with firework ban after safety complaints'
Rothesay, N.B. councillors move forward with firework ban after safety complaints
WATCH: The town of Rothesay, N.B., says it will go forward with a ban on the use and sale of fireworks in the municipality following complaints made during Canada Day weekend. As Zack Power explains, councillors are worried about a number of issues including noise, safety, and a potential start to fires. – Jul 14, 2023

Following a weekend which is normally filled with fireworks celebrating Canada’s birthday, the Town of Rothesay has called to ban consumer use of fireworks. Complaints to the town caused a debate over exactly how safe they are.

Nearby municipalities like Saint John have already banned the sale of fireworks within city limits, but nearby municipalities like Rothesay and Quispamsis currently allow the sale.

The bylaw would fine businesses who are selling the displays or even take them to court.

At a council meeting on Monday, councillors expressed concerns about the safety of consumers used fireworks within the municipality. Tiffany Mackay French shared concerns over seeing children playing near fireworks. Other councillors addressed environmental and pet complaints.

Remarks from Mayor Nancy Grant indicate that the bylaw might be easy to circumvent. The nearby town of Quispamsis has not yet banned the use and sale of fireworks. The two municipalities share fire and police services, which the council notes would make it tough for enforcement officials.

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“I think banning them doesn’t do a lot of good if other municipalities are still selling them,” said Grant at the meeting.

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“It becomes more difficult to have a ban on the sale of fireworks, for example … if the neighbour doesn’t do the same thing,” Town Manager John Jarvie said on Monday.

In a statement to Global News, the Town of Quispamsis said they’d be willing to discuss banning fireworks if the Town of Rothesay formally asks the municipality.

According to Jarvie on Monday, Rothesay had already heard from Quispamsis, who advised that they had already discussed the matter.

Talks initially arose between December 2021 and February 2022 when fireworks caught a house on fire in Quispamsis. Both councils heard from concerned residents at that time but shot down the motion in a tight vote.

Despite a narrow 4-3 decision for the Rothesay bylaw to go ahead on Monday, advocates are hopeful that the Quispamsis council will make the right decision when the time comes.

“Shooting them off in backyards, we’ve had some people that it’s affected their neighbours, and their siding has caught on fire,” told Leslie Rice, the admin of a Facebook group called Ban Consumer Fireworks in New Brunswick.

“If the city would turn around and, say, July 1st, set off their own (put off by the town) fireworks, at least people would be prepared, and we can prepare ourselves and our animals.”

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Global News reached out to officials from the Town of Rothesay, who did not respond in time for the deadline.

There’s no timeline of when the bylaw could come into effect.


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