City fine tunes fireworks legislation; Ashmore opposes limits in bylaw

By Kirk Winter

By a vote of 8-1, Kawartha Lakes council passed a sweeping by-law that will limit the use of fireworks to just six different sets of days in the annual calendar. Special permits will be required for all other days.

Councillor Ron Ashmore wanted to debate the issue because he felt that the whole idea of a ban “was taking away a lot of enjoyment in people’s lives.”

He did not like the idea of a permit being necessary beyond the designated days, nor was he comfortable with the idea that a permit would only be issued if the get together met the criteria of a “special event.”

Councillor Doug Elmslie disagreed and spoke strongly in favour of the original by-law that was discussed in depth at a meeting of the whole two weeks ago. Elmslie felt the two weekends only proposed by Fire Chief Mark Pankhurst “made sense.”

“Fireworks every weekend are very problematic,” Elmslie stated.

“They spook livestock and family pets,” Elmslie continued, “and I think when we start granting special permits there should be a registry set up online that should be available to the public so they know (where there might be fireworks going off).”

“We are not stopping people from selling fireworks or having fireworks,” Elmslie concluded.

Councillor Emmett Yeo agreed with Elmslie but added, “I want to see a substantial penalty and fine section established in this bylaw.”

Councillor Andrew Veale, a supporter of the by-law from the beginning, suggested that the permitted usage of fireworks could be expanded from just the Victoria and Canada Day long weekends to include the Family Day long weekend, the Labour Day long weekend, Aboriginal Day and the day before and the day after, and New Year’s Eve.

“That would be a good compromise, “Mayor Andy Letham stated.

Elmslie and Yeo, who were sponsoring the bylaw, accepted the friendly amendment from Veale. The new by-law was put to vote with the only new addendum from what was discussed 14 days ago being that there would now be six sanctioned fireworks dates instead of two.

“This is a good initiative. The safety and enjoyment of people and animals in the community will be better protected (by this bylaw),” Elmslie said.

Ashmore was still opposed to the bylaw even with the additional days included. He called for a recorded vote where he was the lone dissenting voice as the bylaw passed.

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