(PQB News file photo)

Island livestock and pet owners want ban on unrestricted sale and use of fireworks

Ongoing Regional District of Nanaimo petition has more than 17,000 signatures

A group of livestock and pet owners want a ban on the unrestricted sale and use of fireworks in the Regional District of Nanaimo.

There is currently an ongoing petition that has more than 17,ooo signatures, supporting the call for the RDN to implement a bylaw to restrict the sale of fireworks to specific days of the year and requiring permits to set off the fireworks.

Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) director Lehann Wallace had a notice of motion introduced at the Electoral Area Services Committee meeting on May 6 to direct staff to provide a report and bylaw recommendations on restricting fireworks use in the Regional District of Nanaimo. The motion passed with committee chair, Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) director Bob Rogers and Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) director Leanne Salter voting against it.

Coral Farm indicated it has incurred vet bills for an injury its horse suffered from a fireworks display put on by a resident last year.

“She still isn’t moving right and she might never be fully sound again,” Coral Farm stated in its letter to the RDN. “Fireworks usage has turned into complete mayhem within the RDN.”

A Coombs resident indicated some people are just emboldened to use fireworks since there are no regulations in place. He counted 18 different fireworks sessions last Halloween night. He also counted four fireworks events in the seven nights leading up to Halloween.

Some residents said they tried to speak to people using fireworks but were told “it’s not illegal” and suggested that they do a better job in protecting their animals from fireworks.

“For a few minutes of personal entertainment for someone, I should be required to build super-structures that could somehow block out the decibel level of a firework, and that could house, organize, segregate and protect every animal on my property?” said Scott of Coombs in a letter to the RDN. “And that this is an equivalent and reasonable tradeoff to protect someone’s right to have 10 minutes of fun. I believe selfish doesn’t even come close to describing this viewpoint.”

READ MORE: Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after complaints

A farm owner said they try their best to prepare for holidays like Halloween and New Year’s Eve as they are often celebrated with fireworks.

“Most horses, even the ‘Steady Eddys’ will panic as they are prey animals and are very aware of their surrounding despite our efforts to keep them calm such as leaving the music on, feeding extra hay, monitoring, etc.,” said Faye Marges, an equestrian professional. “Horses in panic are unpredictable and can cause extensive damage to themselves, other and to the property.”

Marges said it’s selfish to ask for a complete ban of fireworks but for the safety of their animals and family, she would like the RDN to implement a bylaw similar to those introduced in other jurisdictions in Canada where the sale of fireworks and specific use are restricted. They include Comox Valley Regional District, Cowichan Valley Regional District, City of Vancouver, District of Squamish and Strathcona County.

The North Island Wildlife Recovery Association, which is dedicated to the care of injured, orphaned and ill wildlife from wildfires, Pacific Wild Alliance and the Sierra Club support the campaign.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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