Week­day fire­works prompts com­plaint

Mu­nic­i­pal, provin­cial guide­lines for use of fire­works

The Compass - - OPINION - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

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.

Reg­u­la­tions

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.

RCMP com­plaint

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.

TC Me­dia file photo

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.

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