This Halloween, Langley Township will respond to fireworks with a beefed-up education campaign and a dedicated email address for bylaw complaints.
It is technically legal to sell fireworks in Langley Township, but it’s rare for any merchants to actually set up shop.
Selling fireworks requires a valid Fireworks Supervisor’s Certificate, issued by Natural Resources Canada, a Township business license, and a $1,500 permit fee.
Last year there were no permit applications at all, said deputy fire chief Bruce Ferguson.
Actually setting off fireworks is at least as difficult. In addition to the Fireworks Supervisor’s Certificate, applying to put on a fireworks display requires a site plan, approval from the property owner, at least $5 million in liability insurance, and a permit fee of $100.
Langley City has similar regulations for fireworks displays, and outright bans the sale of fireworks within municipal limits.
With the exception of some Canada Day fireworks displays, legal fireworks have become uncommon in the Township over the last few decades.
However, illicit fireworks became extremely common around a few holidays – notably Halloween and New Year’s Eve – during the pandemic.
Cooped up and with few actual public events, some people took to local parks and rural areas to set off Roman candles in small groups on the holiday evenings. Complaints about fireworks soared from pre-pandemic numbers.
Police, bylaw officials, and firefighters have to deal with the aftermath, with firefighters most concerned about the possibility of accidental fires or injuries.
Ferguson said with four full-time firehalls in the Township, there are usually enough crews to respond to the holiday fireworks calls.
“It still does get kind of crazy at times,” he said.
He expects the fact that Halloween isn’t on a weekend to help, this year.
In April this year, the Township council unanimously approved a plan to increase education on fireworks rules, create a dedicated email address for complaints about fireworks, and to add proactive patrols of RCMP and bylaws officers at fireworks hot spots around major holidays, including Halloween.
The three recommendations came from a working group including firefighters, RCMP, and bylaw officials that was established last November.
Anyone concerned about fireworks being fired off illegally can contact the township at email@example.com, or call bylaw enforcement during regular office hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
The RCMP non-emergency line can be called for concerns outside of those hours.
For a bylaw infraction, the Township asks that people provide their name, phone number, the address where the incident is taking place, and a photograph of the incident.
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