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Town to restrict use of fireworks in Fort Macleod

There could be fireworks at an up-coming town council meeting.
Fort Macleod council gave first reading Oct. 15 to a by-law regulating the purchase of fireworks.
“What this by-law does is makes it illegal to possess fireworks unless you have a permit from the town,” Town of Fort Macleod municipal manager David Connauton said.
By-law 1774 prevents people from having fireworks in a public place in Fort Macleod unless they have a permit issued by the town.
People are also prohibited from setting off fireworks without a permit.
“We’re making it very hard,” Connauton said.
Permits will only be granted to people who hold a valid pyrotechnic certificate.
The by-law carries fines ranging from $200 to $2,500 and six months in jail.
“Basically you’re shutting down the business,” Coun. Sharan Randle observed.
Connauton replied, “Yes.”
By-law 1774 was prepared for council’s consideration by Fort Macleod community peace officer Scott Donselaar.
Connauton told council that people setting off fireworks has been an “issue” in Fort Macleod.
Mayor Shawn Patience agreed.
“The goal here is not to stop people from enjoying them, it’s to stop people from setting them off at two in the morning,” Patience said.
Connauton noted people often set off fireworks at a time when the fire hazard is high.
Patience said the Town of Fort Macleod’s last official fireworks display was in 1993.
“It is a very uncommon practice to give out licences to set off fireworks in the province of Alberta,” Patience said.
Coun. Susan Koots predicted the by-law will draw a reaction from residents.
“The day this starts getting enforced you’re going to have people coming forward,” Koots said.
Coun. Gord Wolstenholme agreed, and advised council to proceed slowly.
“If we’re going to have a law, which I have no problem doing, we should probably give notice,” Wolstenholme said.
Council gave first reading to By-law 1774.
The by-law will be advertised in The Macleod Gazette prior to a public hearing at which people can provide input.

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