Fireworks in the Madawaska Valley

OPINION

At the August 4, 2020 MV Council in Committee Meeting, By-Law Enforcement Officer Corwin Quade reported that he had received a large number of complaints about the use of fireworks during 2020 and he was looking for direction from Council. His November 17, 2020 recommendation was to restrict the use of fireworks to Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Canada Day between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. for a maximum of 30 minutes. Council directed staff to present them with a draft Fireworks By-Law, and suggested amendments to existing By-Laws relating to Noise and Burning. Click HERE for a report of that meeting. Above fireworks reflected in lake. photo kawarthanow

Earlier, the July 7, 2020 Council meeting included an email from a resident who came to the cottage to celebrate Canada Day and “enjoy quiet time in the beautiful Madawaska Valley.” I’ll leave out the part about the noise and chemicals, but her concluding plea was “please act quickly to save this unique environment from destruction.”

Economic growth and environment are related say developers

At the October 6 Council in Committee meeting, a note from Kristin Marchand, who is evidently selling some lots in the area, stated that she “would like to market the area with the iconic sights and the sounds of the loons” and that she would appreciate some restrictions on the use of fireworks.

Or, how about Mark Snider’s promotional message for lots he is selling in Algonquin Heights on Trout Lake: “private building sites immersed in nature … located in arguably one of the most beautiful corners of Ontario, among rolling hills and lakes.” Nine lots sold at last check.

Developers are telling us why they believe people come to the Madawaska Valley and buyers are confirming that IT’S ABOUT THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT and if we continue to ignore its importance, we do so at our peril. It’s great to know that people can come to Barry’s Bay to have a good time reconnecting with nature. There is a positive correlation between economic expansion and environmental preservation.

Many residents report that fireworks have adverse effects on people suffering from PTSD, adverse effects on pets and wildlife and the rest of the ecosystem. Did I mention the effect on residents who get up early in the morning to go to work or infants needing their sleep?

Other municipalities

Consider Hastings Highlands (i.e. south basin of Kamaniskeg Lake). Their regulations say that fireworks may be set off from June 20 to Thanksgiving on Fridays and Saturdays from dusk to 11 p.m. and including Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day and New Year’s Eve.

Or, Highlands East By-Law which allows fireworks on Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, Labour Day weekends (from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and New Year’s Eve.

MV postpones by-law in favour of education

The latest on the Madawaska Valley Fireworks By-Law (based on the March 2 Council in Committee meeting) is that it will be postponed for 2021 and an educational campaign will be developed to encourage the responsible use of fireworks. An effective educational campaign has the potential to explain the harmful effects of fireworks and most people will self-regulate. Some may not, and time will tell.

The way things stand after the March 2 meeting, people may set off fireworks in MV seven days per week from dusk to 11 p.m. That totals about 160 evenings from the May long weekend through Thanksgiving. It is my sincere hope that a quality educational campaign will encourage people to be responsible with the use of fireworks. Otherwise, what will we do when the loons are gone?

loon-family-mv-fish-and-game-club-fb
Loon family. photo Madawaska Valley Fish & Game Club

5 Comments

  1. Eve-Marie Chamot

    Dan:- Ah the 1950’s! My Polish war-refugee “Mummy” would take us to Bellwood’s-Trinity Park in Toronto with a little replica “Wehrmacht” tank and a package of firecrackers and place some of the “crackers” under the tank and we would take turns lighting them and they would flip the tank when they exploded while we hid behind a tree:- my mother found this very amusing and she would dance around the tank with us afterwards but it took me many years to understand this strange little ritual. My father and his buddies, survivors of the 4th Battle of Monte Cassino, totally despised fireworks as did all the many “war vets” living in our working-class neighborhood:- they stirred up too many bad memories. Later in the 1960’s my parents and their friends discovered very, very quiet Barry’s Bay and its many very, very quiet pleasures sans fireworks. Perhaps we could require cottagers to undergo “fireworks counselling” before being allowed to discharge fireworks by locking them in a room for several hours while watching some graphic and very noisy WW2 documentary films.
    Chad:- Sorry no should do because those little islands are very safe nesting sites for local waterfowl such as loons.
    I’m not sure what to do about the “fireworkers”:- Perhaps it’s a juvenile fad which will eventually dissipate as they get older and “grow out” of it.

  2. Ok here is the Fireworks solution.
    There are many small islands that are Crown Land that are too small to build on and far enough for the mainland to never be able to threaten it becoming a forest fire. Make those designated fireworks Islands. Now for the rest of the areas make it off-limits to shoot off fireworks. This would also make it peaceful for next-door neighbors that don’t like fireworks close by.
    This solves the problem and makes it fun for everyone all the time

  3. Dan Olshen

    Eve: I fully concur that abolishing fireworks except on say Canada Day is a no-brainer for any forward – looking jurisdiction. However, we again see the buffoonery of Councilor Bromowich who thinks a 1 AM curfew is a significant achievement and a Mayor who is completely incapable of making a rational decision on behalf of the MV. You are lucky to have laid waste to your neigbour in Toronto and I am not so fortunate as I have a seasonal neigbour from Burlington who lives in a ground hog hole genre of dwelling and surfaces on any nice summer evening and shoot off firework’s barrage that make the place look like Sarajevo in wartime. How pathetic our governance does not have the audacity to ban this pathetic display of 50’s thinking in the MV where even the loons will find highly incompatible with a harmonic lifestyle.

  4. Eve-Marie Chamot

    Who needs fireworks? They disturb people unnecessarily and they cause fires. When I lived in Toronto we had one neighbor who like to fire fireworks but not straight up over his own home so he shot them over my home and those of my neighbors and he thought he was being quite clever in doing this until the police showed up followed later by City officials with a cease-and-desist order:- I felt like I was being bombarded and was terrified of a fire starting on my roof. In the old days at night you could hear the bullfrogs “wonking” and the “peepers” peeping and people would have little campfires and toast marshmallows and “weenies” and chat quietly:-
    whatever happened to simple pleasures and respect for one’s neighbors?

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