By J.W. Schnarr
Fireworks will no longer be permitted to be sold in the Town of Vauxhall if the new Fire Service Bylaw is approved by Vauxhall council.
During their regular meeting on Aug. 17, council passed first reading on the new bylaw, which describes the levels of fire service available to the town. Municipal bylaw officer Jason Schreiber was on hand to discuss a change to the bylaw by Vauxhall Fire Chief Brian Schafer, who was not in attendance. According to Schreiber, Schafer had just one issue that he felt needed to be changed.
“Brian (Schafer) asked me to do a bit of work on the wording as far as the bylaw goes,” Schreiber said.
“The M.D. of Taber had received a letter from the safety codes council,” he said. “Basically it was about an inconsistency in practice with regards to low-hazard fireworks, as far as the sales.”
According to the fire code interpretation, written permission is needed from the local fire department prior to any fireworks being stored, sold, or discharged. However, according to Schreiber, by removing the sales aspect of the bylaw, a lot of problems could be bypassed.
“(Schafer’s) way of thinking is that if we completely cut out sales, we don’t have to worry about the problem of people buying them, setting them off without anybody knowing, and potentially causing a problem,” Schreiber said.
He added when fireworks are set off in the area, it can be difficult to ascertain the parties responsible. Often, he noted, it comes down to a blame game between a number of different possible culprits.
“Unless you can see the evidence from where they were, it’s kind of hard to follow it up,” he said.
Council originally contemplated passing all three readings of the bylaw during their meeting. Coun. Martin Kondor suggested council hold off, however, as there could be businesses in the community which currently sell fireworks, and who would not be able to unload their product should the amended bylaw be passed.
With council unsure as to whether fireworks are actually sold in the community or not, it was decided to pass first reading of the bylaw so that Schreiber could check with local businesses and inform them of the change in the bylaw.
“I just wouldn’t mind if someone check up on them, just to see,” said Kondor.
“You don’t want to make their inventory worthless,” agreed Deputy Mayor Richard Phillips.
“They can put them on sale as we slowly pass the bylaw,” quipped Mayor Margaret Plumtree.
Following discussion, council passed first reading of the Fire Service Bylaw.