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Nova Scotia group starts petition to ban recreational fireworks

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A group in Nova Scotia has started a petition in hopes of putting an end to recreational fireworks.

Hugh Chisholm, a retired veterinarian, is one of the group members advocating for the ban. He says it isn't the large city-run displays that they're trying to put a stop to, but the ones popping up in Nova Scotians' backyards.

"I don't want to be a curmudgeon that sits here and says, 'You can't have fun,'" said Chisholm. "The problem is that fun comes at a cost to others."

So far, the petition has grown to 14,000 signatures.

The group behind it argues fireworks cause terror, pain and even death to animals. It adds the noise can also trigger issues for people suffering from PTSD or living with autism.

"Right now, there’s really no useful legislation," said Chisholm. "Any noise bylaws that hope to do something, they’re not working."

Keith O'Flaherty is a resident of Cape Breton. He says he's noticed an increase in consumer fireworks in his area, which bother his show dogs and miniature horses.

"They’re lasting for very long periods of time. At one point, they started when it got dark and they went on to 1:30 in the morning," said O'Flaherty, a resident of Lingan, N.S.

Fred Wade sells fireworks near Wolfville, N.S. He agrees they can be annoying if set off at the wrong time and place, but disagrees on bringing in a ban.

"I think discussions about an outright ban is way off the mark," he said. "Especially for something that brings so much happiness and so much pleasure to so many people."

Wade says firework sales have gone up during the pandemic, for everything from gender reveal parties to weddings.

He says he gives every buyer safety information and encourages them to call neighbours before use.

Not only does he not agree with a ban, but he also questions how it would be enforced.

"Our overloaded police forces barely can keep up with serious crime, let alone nuisance crimes about loud music, or people squealing their tires, or somebody shooting off consumer fireworks on the beach," said Wade.

When asked about a potential ban on consumer fireworks, the Nova Scotia government said it's not considering it right now.

Municipalities, however, may already have bylaws in place for when consumer fireworks can be used.

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