North Park residents calling for ban on fireworks

Some residents say fireworks at Royal Athletic Park are having huge impacts on their families.

Some North Park residents hope to put a stop to the use of fireworks in the city and are calling for a ban on the popular incendiary devices that they say are having huge impacts on their families.

Jenny Farkas, who has lived in the North Park neighbourhood for more than a decade, says it’s like a war zone when fireworks are lit off at the Royal Athletic Park, two blocks from her home.

“City hall doesn’t understand the impact in a dense urban neighbourhood of exploding gunpowder. The city isn’t thinking of the implications for children, dogs and people that don’t like loud noises,” she says, adding that her dog goes into “absolute distress” when they go off.

“It feels like gun fire is going off at the Royal Athletic Park.”

Farkas’ ban on fireworks was renewed after finding out that the HarbourCats’ have increased their use of fireworks from two to four times this season.

“Our neighbourhood is dealing with the fall out in terms of noise. It’s just one of those things where it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” says Ian Abbott, also a North Park resident who lives about two blocks away from the park.

“When the noise and the disturbance is falling on the same people over and over again, there’s a breaking point. You don’t understand the noise until you’re living in it.”

He says several times in the past two summers his two-and-a-half-year-old child has woke up crying and screaming because fireworks have gone off at the park late at night.

Farkas believes it’s about replacing fireworks with another form of entertainment.

“Fireworks are very old tech, this is a modern world, there are all sorts of options that don’t involve things that don’t pollute the environment and terrorize pets,” she says, adding that a laser, light and sound show could be an alternative.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says the city would “probably not” ban the use of fireworks.

“I think that in the residential neighbourhoods where the Royal Athletic Park is, a laser light show might be more appropriate,” she says. “I can’t imagine that we would ban fireworks, for example on Canada Day.”

Helps added she mentioned the idea of a laser light show at HarbourCats games to general manager Jim Swanson and he sounded interested in the idea.

“Sometimes it’s a matter of picking up the phone or walking down to the park and having a conversation,” says Helps.