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Canada Day to feature drone show in lieu of fireworks in Langley Township

It’s been years since Township hosted a holiday fireworks show
A drone show in Sequim, Wash. in 2020. Langley Township has approved a drone show for Canada Day this year. (Photo by Barb Hanna/City of Sequim)

Langley Township will host its first drone light show for Canada Day this year, instead of the fireworks displays that used to cap the annual celebration.

On Monday, March 11, council voted to fund a $30,000 light show featuring programmed drones at the Canada Day party at the Langley Events Centre.

“I’m kind of curious to give it a try, and we’ll revisit it again next year,” said Mayor Eric Woodward.

Most of the council was enthusiastic about trying the drone show.

Langley Township used to hold Canada Day fireworks displays, when the annual event was hosted by a volunteer-run group at the Langley Regional Airport.

Fireworks continued for a few years after the event was moved to McLeod Athletic Park as the airport expanded.

However, the large event sometimes had issues with crowds, and in 2013 a drunken brawl broke out involving about 100 people, just before the fireworks were set to start.

The last year for the McLeod Park event was 2014, and in 2015, a smaller, family-friendly event, without fireworks had been created at Willoughby Community Park at the Langley Events Centre. Canada Day events are also held in Fort Langley in partnership with museums and the Fort Langley National Historic Site, and in Langley City.

Several Township councillors were excited about having an evening event. The option of a fireworks display had also been raised, costing about $15,000 and lasting about 15 minutes, but that carried other concerns.

Councillor Tim Baillie highlighted issues with pollution, noise, and fire risk at that time of the year in particular.

The planned drone show would last about 18 minutes, would be environmentally friendly, and would run between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Canada Day evening.

Drone light shows have become increasingly popular around the world. They involve dozens or hundreds of flying drones studded with coloured lights creating patterns in the air.

Fireworks displays have come under increasing criticism in recent years for frightening pets, and have in many cases had to be cancelled around the Lower Mainland due to dry conditions and fire risks. Illicit fireworks, which saw a boom during the pandemic, have been targeted for increased enforcement in the Township.

READ ALSO: Stricter enforcement planned for illicit fireworks in Langley Township

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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