brampton fireworks ban

Brampton passes controversial fireworks ban and opinions are very divided

Brampton City Council voted unanimously on a motion to effectively ban fireworks on Wednesday, and reactions are mixed, with some supporting the ban and others claiming that it unfairly targets Brampton's South Asian community.

Regional Councillor Dennis Keenan brought forth a motion to amend the city's Fireworks By-Law, with full council support on the move to "prohibit the use, purchase, discharge, possession, sale and offer to sell all fireworks," limiting their use in Brampton to "the film industry and city run events."

The by-law update also includes an increase in current fines, to be ratified at Brampton's next City Council meeting.

Fireworks became a hot topic in Brampton this October amid a flood of complaints and police calls during Diwali celebrations, polarizing the suburb with calls for a fireworks ban and counterarguments alleging racist undertones of a move perceived to target the city's large South Asian population.

Councillor Keenan, who introduced the motion, said in a press release that "with a significant increase in resident fireworks complaints, and a unanimous vote to pass my motion, it is clear that the current Fireworks By-Law needed amendments and harsher penalties."

This year alone, Brampton received 1,491 calls related to fireworks resulting in over $38,000 in fines, a sizable increase of just under 1,000 calls over the 492 received in 2018.

In his press release, Keenan also cites "excessive noise, fire safety concerns and left-over garbage piles" as reasons for the ban.

Councillor Gurpartap Singh Toor, who seconded the motion, says that "Acknowledging that change takes time, the increased fines for possession and distribution of fireworks, as well as the enforcement blitz this New Year's Eve, shows that the city is steadfast in our stance to eliminate personal fireworks."

It should alleviate some concerns that Councillor Toor stressed that acknowledged "that fireworks are a special part of many holidays, and are looking to add an annual Diwali event, similar to our current Canada Day and New Year's Eve events, with City-run firework displays."

But until such an event is added to Brampton's official calendar, the ban's deference to city-run events leaves Diwali celebrations in the lurch.

Lead photo by

Phil Marion

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