New approach to fireworks bylaw enforcement over Victoria Day weekend

By Justine Fraser

The City of Kitchener is trying out a new fireworks bylaw enforcement approach this weekend — aiming to take a more proactive stance around high-complaint areas.

“Generally, by the time somebody complains and were able to get across town, they’ve completed their fireworks, so were unable to locate them,” Gloria MacNeil, director of bylaw enforcement for the City of Kitchener, said. “We’re just hoping this is a little bit of a different strategy that will be more effective.”

As part of the initiative, Kitchener bylaw will be posting officers up at local parks that often receive the most complaints about fireworks. Some of those places include McLennan Park and Victoria Park in Kitchener.

Despite public parks being off-limits for fireworks, MacNeil said people tend to gather there for the displays anyway.

“We have looked at the stats from previous years and noted that there was a higher volume of complaints in those areas. So, we will be setting officers up in those areas so they will be out proactively looking for people setting off fireworks, hoping to educate people prior to them lighting them off and ensuring that they are doing so safely.”

Fireworks can only be set off on specific days like Canada Day, Victoria Day and Diwali. As Victoria Day approaches, bylaw officers are gearing up for fireworks that may take place on Friday or Saturday as well.

“Anybody setting off fireworks should be purchasing their fireworks from a reliable, licensed source. They should also only be setting off fireworks on privately owned property if they can meet the setback requirements which require them to be 25 feet minimum away from any buildings or structures,” she said.

The latest anyone can set off fireworks in the city is 11 p.m. and anyone caught setting them off after that could face a fine.

That fine also increased in January to $400 after a report came to council last year.

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