The Town of Gravenhurst’s open-air burning by-law will now include restrictions surrounding the use of fireworks during a fire ban.
“As an area that is known for its lakes and forests, during a drought or heightened conditions which may lead to a town-issued fire ban, the idea of setting off fireworks during this time increases the risk for catastrophic fire events,” wrote Kristen Ford, manager of by-law services, in a March 21 report to council.
The motion was passed unanimously.
“The updated by-law has been restructured to provide clearer direction with regards to the town’s prohibitions and restrictions concerning open-air burning,” she said.
Ford added that up-to-date information and educational material will be posted on the town’s website and awareness campaigns will be done when there may be increased activity, like during long weekends and holidays.
The move comes after a year-long investigation by staff that started on March 15, 2022. Council asked them to look into the possibility of restricting the sale of fireworks in Gravenhurst.
However, Ford concluded limiting sales wouldn’t work out as intended. “…Banning their sale here would just result in them being purchased in other jurisdictions,” she wrote.
Ford added that through looking into the possibility of restricting sales of fireworks, staff found the number of complaints about them being set off in residential areas was “minimal” and usually in response to “organized fireworks displays.”
“Residential fireworks are normally seen on celebratory long weekends, with most residents or visitors attending community events for the display fireworks provided through the town,” wrote Ford.
She added that the selling of fireworks is regulated through federal legislation and regulations.