City of Waterloo tightens fireworks bylaw

The City of Waterloo is updating its fireworks ban, limiting their use to one day before and after specific holidays.

Under the previous bylaw, which hadn't been updated since 2006, fireworks were permitted for seven days before and after several major holidays, including Victoria Day, Canada Day, the Lunar New Year and Diwali.

At a city council meeting on Monday, council unanimously voted to approve a proposal that limits the use of fireworks to within one day of select holidays and prohibits fireworks from being set off after 11 p.m.

"They're annoying," said Waterloo resident Peter Haney. "I find them annoying. I think they should be restricted to one or two days a year.

"They drive the dog crazy. She freaks out, goes into the basement, she can't stand it."

Fireworks will also not be permitted if the fire chief declares the city a restricted fire zone.

Waterloo officials said they decided to update the bylaw after receiving an influx of complaints about fireworks after this year's Victoria Day long weekend.

"We decided to do a municipal scan, look at what some other municipalities do and make some housekeeping changes to the bylaw," said Nicole Papke, Waterloo's director of municipal enforcement services. "At the time [in 2006], there was a desire to have an increased time frame for the use of what we refer to in the bylaw as family fireworks."

The city will now undertake an education initiative as enforcement of the fireworks bylaw can be a challenge.

"The communications plan moving forward is to provide to all of our neighbourhood groups about being a good neighbour as it pertains to family fireworks," Papke said. "Although they're a lot of fun for people, they can create challenges for a lot of pets and people in general."

BYLAWS IN OTHER LOCAL COMMUNITIES

In the City of Kitchener, fireworks are permitted on private property on Victoria Day, Canada Day and Diwali, along with day immediately before and after those holidays.

Cambridge allows fireworks on the same holidays, along with within two days after the holiday in cases of inclement weather.

Guelph's bylaw includes the day prior to Victoria Day, Canada Day and Diwali, along with those holidays themselves. The Guelph Fire Department may also approve fireworks for other religious events.