Local government may crack down on firecrackers.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary board has taken the first step in getting approval to regulate fireworks in rural areas.
Unlike municipalities, regional districts don’t automatically have the authority to govern the use of fireworks. They can ask for it, but it requires an order-in-council from the provincial government.
The board voted last Thursday to proceed with that request.
According to a staff report, the soonest it could be granted is February of next year, with a new bylaw in place by the following May.
The board also heard that it would be up to them to decide whether the bylaw would apply year-round or only seasonally. Currently, fireworks use is banned everywhere in B.C. by provincial order.
“It’s a step forward,” West Boundary director Vicki Gee said.
“Once we get permission there might be varying levels of support in different electoral areas. But it seems like a good thing to start off down the road so we have that capability.”
The bylaw would require voter assent, but it’s not clear yet whether that would be achieved through a referendum or counterpetition process. Beforehand, the regional district will have to carry out a public engagement process to see if there is support for such a service. Gee said it will be important to present the cost implications at that stage.
Beaver Valley director Ali Grieve noted that even if the bylaw moves ahead, it wouldn’t necessarily result in fireworks being banned outright, as under the bylaw the board could still allow permits for special events.
Some regional districts, such as Columbia-Shuswap, already have fireworks regulation bylaws, while others, such as Central Kootenay, have mused about it but not moved forward.