PENTICTON - If you’re planning on a fireworks display this Halloween, beware — depending on where you live — ignoring fireworks bylaws could result in fireworks of a more unpleasant kind, as many municipalities and some regional districts have fireworks bylaws in place, and potentially onerous fines for disobeying them.
Below is a brief summary of the various regulations governing fireworks in the Thompson-Okanagan's larger municipalities and regional districts. Anyone considering using fireworks should check with their local fire and bylaw departments before proceeding.
The City of Kamloops allows the sale and discharge of fireworks only between Oct. 24 and Nov.1. and between Dec. 25 and Jan.1, according to the city’s fireworks regulation.
Notice must be filed with the Kamloops Fire Department for those intending to use fireworks, and those wishing to sell fireworks require a permit.
No one under the age of 21 may sell or purchase fireworks, and no one is allowed to discharge them on public roads.
In Vernon, fireworks sales are not allowed within city limits.
Users need a permit from the Vernon Fire Department and must be 18 years old or older.
Permits for use must be submitted 30 days prior to the event. The permit must include written permission from the venue where the fireworks are taking place, liability insurance of $10,000,000 with the city and venue named as insured and a description of fireworks to be used.
Fines for violating the bylaw can run as high as $10,000.
In Kelowna, a permit is needed to use, set off or display fireworks. Sales within the city are not permitted and users must hold a valid Fireworks Supervisor’s and/or a Pyrotechnics Certification Card as issued by Natural Resources Canada.
Those wishing to use fireworks must have a written agreement with the owner of the venue where the fireworks will be used, and the user must be insured.
Fines can run as high as $10,000.
In Penticton, Fire Department inspector Ken Barbour says anyone using fireworks in the city needs a permit from the fire department at a cost of $27. The permits are available at the firehall, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fireworks are restricted to adults, who assume all risk and liability. They aren’t allowed on any streets, and written permission is required from any venue associated with a fireworks display.
Barbour says he does not recommend the use of fireworks in Penticton, but if a person is willing to assume the risks and liabilities involved, it is permissible.
Outside of the municipalities, regional districts have little if any regulation regarding fireworks usage.
In the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, only Electoral Areas “E” and “D” prohibit the sale or disposal of fireworks with fines of up to $500 for bylaw infractions.
Property bylaw coordinator David Nelmes with the Thompson Nicola Regional District says there are no bylaws governing fireworks in the district, noting some municipalities might have them.
The Central Okanagan Regional District requires people get its permission to set off fireworks. The person supervising the fireworks must have a current pyrotechnical certificate. An offence can result in a fine of up to $100.
North Okanagan Regional District bylaw enforcement officer John Friesen says the district has no specific fireworks bylaw, but use of fireworks may fall under other jurisdictions such as provincial wildfire regulations.
If you’re still interested in setting off fireworks for Halloween, Penticton fire inspector Ken Barbour might be right when he says finding them might be the most difficult part of the process.
Fireworks can be purchased in the North Okanagan at locations in Enderby and Grindrod, at the Little Kingdom Grocery Store on Westside Road at Six Mile Creek Road, and in the South Okanagan in Oliver.
Earlier this week fireworks vendor Brent Zvonarich was forced to pull out of the Penticton area after a land ownership issue regarding his location on the Penticton Indian Band. With many municipalities restricting the sale of fireworks within the municipal boundaries, sales locations can be hard to find, Zvonarich noted.
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