Fireworks bylaw pending

The pending fireworks bylaw for Houston permits shooting fireworks without a licence but prohibits firecrackers altogether.

A fireworks bylaw is in the works for the District of Houston.

The District held several public discussion meetings at the end of 2013 regarding District bylaws and the official community plan. A fireworks bylaw was deemed a priority through that discussion, said John Guenther, Director of Engineering in a report to council last council meeting.

The bylaw, which will come into effect by early May, permits fireworks in the District but prohibits all selling and using firecrackers (which are those that explode and make noise without a visual signal).

No permit will be needed in the District of Houston to set off fireworks, but selling fireworks will require a permit.

Violators of the bylaw will face penalties which include fines of up to $2,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

Enforcement will be carried out by the Houston Fire Chief.

Guenther said in his report to council that the bylaw restrictions help protect the fire safety of lands and buildings. It also manages the sale and distribution of fireworks.

Following are some other regulations in the bylaw:

No one under 19 years of age shall possess, ignite or explode fireworks or fire crackers.

No one shall sell, give or furnish fireworks or firecrackers to anyone under 19.

There must be two people on duty to shoot fireworks and at least two fire extinguishers kept in the area.

The audience must be restrained behind lines that are at least 45 metres from where fireworks are being discharged.

Fireworks that shoot a projectile must only be shot vertically into the air.

Fireworks cannot be used when the outside temperature is 30 degrees Celsius or higher, or the humidity is 30 percent or less. They cannot be used during a windstorm with winds of more than 10 kilometres per hour.

Any fireworks that remain unfired after a display shall be safely disposed of immediately.

If a fire results from the misuse of fireworks, all costs will be charged to those responsible for shooting the fireworks, at hourly rates of $300 per firetruck and $30 per firefighter.

The bylaw was reviewed by RCMP Sgt. Stephen Rose and District staff and is in the process of review. It’s expected that the process will be finalized and the bylaw adopted by early May.