In a 7-1 vote, Tantramar Town Council approved a $2,000 fireworks display today to be held on Friday, February 10th in Bill Johnstone Memorial Park as part of this year’s Winterfest activities.
Council also approved closing Ford Lane from the park entrance to Landsdowne Street from 6 to 9 p.m. to prevent traffic from entering the blast radius.
Volunteer firefighters will be on hand to control the crowd and street.
Councillor Michael Tower cast the sole vote against the display.
“I realize that a lot of people enjoy fireworks,” he told council.
“I, on principle alone, will be voting against this — one, it’s not good for the environment, two, it’s not good for wildlife and there are many pets that do suffer from it.”
Tower added that a deeper reason came from conversations he’s had with two war veterans.
He explained that a Second World War veteran told him that fireworks brought back memories of the dread he felt from incoming artillery shells.
For a CBC story on the effect of private, unscheduled fireworks on a World War Two veteran in Quispamsis, click here.
Every fire starts with a spark, but a special meeting for fire works. Sections of the local governance Act: 63-70 allow for special meetings if the majority of councilors write a request, or the Mayor may call a special meeting to deal with a single item and even waver the usual public notice in certain limited circumstance’s. Tantramar now includes more than the downtown core where local councilors may drop into city hall. The councilor for the former Shire town has a 30 kilometer return trip ,others may be more or less.
Calling a special meeting should not be taken lightly, and definitely not called by the mayor for frivolous business. I know the budget sent down from Fredericton was just a lot of hen scratches and line items. However ,rough or not it would be nice for the public to see the kettle of fish the Honorable Daniel Allain has presented to us. It is time to deal with one of the key issues from the election. The writing of by-laws to formalize your commitment to open government and promoting transparency, accountability and of course accessibility.. May i suggest a starting point for the Town of Tantramar.. For a start enact Robert’s Rules of order. This will help you enact by-laws to guarantee the public’s right to attend and participate in the meetings of the local council, and as a response to growing concerns about local government concerns about local government officials practice of holding secret meetings that appear not to be in compliance with advance public notice requirements . So something similar to this is pivotal in making public officials accountable for their actions and in allowing the public to participate in the decision making process. A draft mission statement might start with -The citizens of the Town of Tantramar do not yield their newly found sovereignty the corner stone of the modernization of local government to the agencies which serve them, (local service commission.) The citizens of Tantramar do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is good for them not to know. Citizens of Tantramar insist on remaining informed so that they retain control over the instruments that they created.. The beginning draft of your sunshine law, “Open Meeting Law ” If you succeed all the evidence of failed amalgamated cities from Ontario to Halifax say you wont,
Your post indicates that it was a 7-1 vote regarding the motion to approve the fireworks and street closure. In a previous post you noted that the mayor is able to vote based on the new procedural by-law and supported through the local governance act.
I watched the proceedings and noticed the mayor did not cast a vote as regulated under the act and upheld in the Town of Tantramar’s procedural by-law. In my experience when a member of council abstains from voting it is a vote in favour. That being the case the vote would be 8-1 not 7-1 I would believe.
Local Governance Act
66(1)Subject to this Act, each member of council present at a meeting shall announce their vote openly and individually, and the clerk shall record it, and no vote shall be taken by ballot or by any other method of secret voting, and every vote taken in that manner is of no effect.
66(2)Despite subsection (1), a local government may, in a procedural by-law made under paragraph 10(2)(a) or in a municipal charter or private or special Act of the local government, provide that the mayor shall not vote except to have a casting vote in the event of a tie.
So the new town of Tantramar by-law indicates that the mayor may only vote when someone wants to add something to the agenda.
But if an item is already on the agenda the mayor does not get the chance to vote. In the case of a tie the motion is considered defeated.
To Councillor Tower, I’m a vet and live on Walker Road ( where you do). Depending on the cloud cover, the boom from fireworks is quite well heard here. Bothers me quite a bit and my cats run to the basement- but I’d never consider that others couldn’t enjoy the fireworks. Enjoy your night people – don’t let one or two people ruin your fun
Hi Mike, check out sources on the internet about various organizations’ concerns about the negative effects of recreational fireworks on: veterans suffering from PTSD, companion animals, livestock, and wildlife, and you will find that it is more than just one or two people who have concerns about this totally unnecessary form of entertainment that can cause so much distress to humans and other animals.
In a CTV news item (https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/victoria-day-ignites-debate-over-fireworks-effects-on-animals-ptsd-victims-1.5914034), a veterinarian explains his reasoning very well : “”In Nova Scotia, retired veterinarian Hugh Chisholm has been advocating for a provincial ban on recreational fireworks. He’s one of the organizers of a petition that has garnered nearly 15,000 signatures on Change.org. “I don’t want to be a curmudgeon that sits here and says, ‘You can’t have fun,'” Chisholm told CTV News Atlantic last week. “The problem is that fun comes at a cost to others.”
I thank Councillor Tower for explaining at the Town Council meeting the various reasons why he decided to vote against holding public fireworks displays. Fireworks don’t necessarily bother him personally but he does have empathy and compassion for the many people and other animals who evidence has shown have been very negatively impacted by fireworks. It is disappointing that Michael is the only current Councillor who has done some research on this and listened to the concerns expressed to him by his constituents.
Thanks Les – unfortunately I’m intimately and personally well aware of PTSD and Veterans and am currently under medical care for those conditions. However, I predict during the term of this Council, fireworks will be permanently cancelled. Other than my opinion which I’ve shared, I have nothing further of value to add on the topic. Thanks….
Fireworks are budgeted for generously but it is wasteful [noisy of course] as that money is basically giving zero R.O.I. [return on investment]… if only they budgetted over the last 10 years an equal amount towards a great new skatepark as the youth asked for in 2013 in council meeting they’d be well on their way to funding a real venue that would also attract tourists as well as serve the youthful and vivacious skatepark users.
Sally, I am sure you are well aware that the whole area around where the current skate park was put in is just a covered marsh area. Core samples reveal that there is approximately a 22 cm layer of marsh mud, then 17 cm of brown clay, then, 18 cm of peat, and then 14 cm of very elastic type white clay. One cannot possibly build a concrete skate park on this very unstable subsoil.
A concrete skate park would probably cost in the vicinity of one million dollars. The fireworks display next weekend cost $2,000. So it would take around 500 years to offset the skatepark cost, and not 10 years. Where do you get your figures and calculations from anyway? And — can boys be ‘vivacious’ as well as the girls? It is just that I have never been been called vivacious, not even once, no matter how hard I tried in my younger days.
Percy… enough to say no one around here understands the value of a concrete skatepark to a town of young people… you probably were always vivacious and didn’t know it P.
If there’s going to a debate about the harms of firework noise, better to start with a debate about the noise pollution that goes on around the clock all year long: loud, modified, or poorly maintained and poorly driven vehicles, and ventilation systems that generate constant noise. The damage to health and quality of life is well known.