Weekday fireworks prompts complaint
Municipal, provincial guidelines for use of fireworks
After a young mother puts her child to bed on a Wednesday evening in Carbonear, she attempts to settle in for the night.
She lies in bed trying to sleep when a loud bang wakes up her child. Her dog begins to bark and shake. The bang is followed by another, then several more.
Someone is setting off fireworks nearby.
This situation is quite similar to one faced by several families at 11:30 p.m. in Carbonear on Wednesday, Jan 7.
Numerous mothers and some neighbours took to social media to voice their displeasure about the loud interruption.
Mother speaks out
One of those mothers was Juanita Parrott.
The mother of a young daughter, who is also expecting her second child in the coming days, was among those interrupted by the noise.
“I love fireworks. The hype and fun of it all,” she told The Compass. “I’ve always loved them and always will, but I don’t (set them off) every night.”
Her daughter Hattie was home when the display took place.
“It bothers me and it’s scary at the same time, waking up to what sounds like gunfire, or waking up to a screaming child,” she explained.
One of Parrott’s biggest issue is there was no indication that someone would be setting off fireworks in the vicinity of her home. She said if she had known, she might have been better prepared for both her daughter and her dog.
In cities like St. John’s, a person is required to sign an agreement in order to purchase fireworks, and Mayor Dennis O’Keefe confirmed publicly a few weeks ago the city would re-evaluate legislation.
Towns like Carbonear are governed by the Municipalities Act, while St. John’s and Corner Brook have their own legislation.
Regulations are determined by each individual town, but Carbonear doesn’t have any specific to fireworks.
Deputy Mayor Frank Butt explained that although there are no fireworks bylaws, there are noise bylaws that residents are expected to follow.
“Someone might come home from being away for a year, for example, and someone might say, ‘Let’s set off some fireworks,’” Butt said. “That’s why we have the 10 p.m. rule.”
Between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., residents are expected to keep noise levels down and not be disruptive.
Butt owns Butt’s Esso near Water Street and has sold fireworks in the past. When asked if they had to sign an agreement like St. John’s, he said no.
“We have to assume they are going to be responsible adults,” he said.
Government has rules too
Besides the municipal regulations, there are also provincial fireworks regulations to abide by.
Under regulation 45/12 of the province’s Fire Protection Services Act, certain criteria must be met.
A permit from the fire commissioner’s office is required for all retail sales of fireworks. It is a one time application, but can be suspended for non-compliance with federal explosive requirements.
“Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are reminded that provincial regulations under the Fire Protection Services Act require the discharge of family fireworks in accor- dance with the instructions printed on the products, and users must exercise care and caution at all times,” Judy Manning, the minister responsible for Fire and Emergency Services, told The Compass.
She also noted that a person must be at least 18 years old to purchase or use fireworks. Butt set his own age limit for purchasing fireworks at his business — 19 years.
The Trinity Conception RCMP detachment received a call about the Jan. 7 firework display and sent officers to the area where it’s believed they were set off.
Unfortunately, it was over, and those responsible could not be found.
Sgt. Greg Hicks confirmed the reason for the call was a noise complaint.
He said there are concerns that regulations, bylaws or permits may be difficult to enforce since the fireworks can be over quickly, and by the time someone is dispatched, it may not be possible to find out who is responsible.
Parrott voiced her concerns over social media, but did not contact police.
Request for courtesy
Parrott and Butt both believe locals need to consider other people when deciding when they will set off the fireworks.
“I think compassion from locals is a good thing, and I know I’m not the only mom/parent to think the same thing,” Parrott stated. Butt agrees. “If I was going to set off fireworks, I wouldn’t even dream of doing it close to a house. They can go lateral,” he explained. “I would stay a reasonable distance. Be cordial and have common sense. Things can go wrong.”
Butt said he has heard some complaints last year regarding the noise of setting them off, but this year has so far been pretty calm. But he does believe people should take into consideration people with children and animals.
“Use is not rampant here, but even once is enough to cause an alarm,” he said.
The City of St. John’s recently said it will look to review its legislation concerning the use of fireworks. In Carbonear, the use of fireworks can become the subject of a noise complaint.