In a 7-1 vote, Sackville Town Council has approved a fireworks display during this year’s Fall Fair in spite of concerns about potentially adverse environmental effects.
“It’s nearly impossible to assign a numerical value to the impact that the fireworks could have on our environment,” Recreation Manager Matt Pryde told council on Monday.
He said most of the research relates to large-scale events in the U.S., India or Australia.
“That said, fireworks are technically an explosion and when an explosion goes off, there’s smoke and when there’s smoke, there’s the potential for particles and toxins and chemicals to get into the air,” Pryde said, adding that chemicals can stay airborne for days before falling to the ground where they can get into the soil harming wildlife and plants.
Pryde said town staff also received information from the Mayor’s Roundtable on Climate Change about the potentially damaging effects of loud explosions on wildlife and domestic animals.
He said that in future, the town could consider replacing fireworks displays with light shows using lasers and drones.
Pryde’s report came in response to concerns raised at an earlier meeting by Councillor Sabine Dietz who thanked staff for conducting this latest research.
She said she would be voting against holding a fireworks display during the Fall Fair, but acknowledged that more conclusive evidence would be needed to make a fully informed decision.
“I know our town needs to do a lot of stuff and the expense for fireworks based on my knowledge that it is an environmental problem, fireworks in general, I will vote against the motion,” Dietz said.
“I’m going to vote in favour,” said Councillor Bill Evans, “but that doesn’t mean there aren’t arguments against it.”
He added that he was glad council was discussing the issue.
“It’s not just the environmental concerns; I know people have PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and I know people who have dogs who leave town when we have fireworks, so there are things to consider,” Evans said.
The Fall Fair fireworks display will be held at the Lorne Street soccer field on Friday, September 24th with a rain date scheduled for Saturday, September 25th.
For a detailed 2019 CBC report on how fireworks can affect human health and the eco-system, click here.