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Fuse could be lit on new debate around fireworks in Barrie

Most concerns relate to noise in residential neighbourhoods affecting young families, veterans, shift workers and well-being of pets, says councillor
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Hold the razzle dazzle, the light show, the celebrations.

Barrie city staff could conduct public consultation to get feedback on the restriction of fireworks in residential areas and report back to councillors with the results.

Councillors will consider a motion to this effect at the finance and responsible governance committee meeting on Jan. 31.

“While we put in greater restrictions on residential fireworks in 2021, there has been outreach from many residents interested in greater restrictions, including up to the full elimination of residential fireworks without a permit,” said Coun. Ann-Marie Kungl.

“There is interest in seeing the city continue to provide fireworks (Canada Day, New Year’s Day, etc.) and explore what other options may be possible through the evolution of technology, like silent fireworks and the migration to drone light shows," she added.

In June 2021, council changed the city’s regulatory matters bylaw.

Coun. Ann-Marie Kungl represents Ward 3 in Barrie. | Image supplied

Without a business licence for fireworks or a pyrotechnic display, and/or an applicable special event permit, fireworks are only permitted in Barrie on Victoria Day, Canada Day and New Year’s Day, and for the duration of the Lunar New Year and Diwali, the five-day Festival of Lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world, usually sometime between October and November.

Barrie’s noise bylaw prohibits the detonation of fireworks after 11 p.m.

But there had previously been no provisions for times in the regulatory matters bylaw when fireworks could go off.

Kungl’s item for discussion on Jan. 31 could lead to more change.

“I am hearing that while some holidays are included in our current bylaw, they benefit some cultures while requiring others to still complete and pay for permits,” she said. “The biggest concerns have been related to the noise in residential neighbourhoods impacting young families, veterans, shift workers and the well-being of pets.

“I have received complaints about the garbage left from fireworks and the issues with enforcement when people let them off days after the permitted time frame.”

Kungl said a residential poll will assist council with the scope of any further changes to Barrie’s bylaws.

“It is hoped that we can get a good response sample,” she said, “so we know we are hearing from a broad range of residents.”

Kungl said it would most likely be an online poll, like the feedback requested by the city through some of its building Barrie website engagement forums.

“Overall, we will consider the most cost-effective approach that can reach residents, with supportive communications to make sure people know where to go to give feedback,” she said.

If approved by finance and responsible governance committee on Jan. 31, Kungl’s motion would still require general committee and city council approval.