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Permits now needed for fireworks at Christina Lake

You now need a permit to set off fireworks at Christina Lake or face a fine.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary adopted a new bylaw last week restricting their use. It had been in the works since last year, when the province granted the RDKB the authority to regulate them.

Regional director Grace McGregor said she is “very, very pleased” and credited staff and fire chiefs for their work on it, adding it has been a long time coming.

“We’ve had ongoing issues of people letting off fireworks when it was 40 degrees,” she said. “It’s a safety thing as well as all the animals getting scared and running. [There are] many, many reasons for this.”

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You can apply for a permit through the Christina Lake fire department, although it also requires the RDKB board’s approval.

McGregor said she hopes fireworks will be restricted to certain red-letter days like Jan. 1, July 1 and July 4, noting that many Americans vacation at Christina Lake. While it is not specifically limited to those days under the bylaw, “it would have to be something pretty darn special [to be on another day]. I’m not advising that.”

Setting off unauthorized fireworks could result in a maximum fine of $500 under the RDKB bylaw notice or up to $10,000 up to BC Offence Act. However, McGregor said enforcement won’t be arbitrary.

“We’re not just telling people ‘Call in and say “We think it’s so-and-so.”‘ We need to know the address where it’s happening before we go down that road. We’re not just going to pull something out of the air, that’s for sure.

“We expect people to respect the bylaw. If they don’t, we’ll find a way, believe me, to convince them to respect it.”

While the new bylaw only applies to the Christina Lake area, McGregor said other electoral areas are interested in doing something similar, depending on how things work out in her community. Municipalities have the authority to enact their own fireworks rules.

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