Of the three firework celebrations allowed in Kitchener in 2023, Diwali fireworks drew the most complaints, leaving Mayor Berry Vrbanovic to speculate if this reflects less tolerance in the community towards the Hindu festival.
Other councillors believed it was more of a lack of education by both those setting off the fireworks and those calling the bylaw office to complain. To counter this, new fireworks regulations include a comprehensive education campaign to educate residents and an increase in the number of bylaw enforcement officers on duty from two to eight for firework days.
Councillor Ayo Owodunni announced that 184 complaints were made to the bylaw office regarding fireworks in 2023, with Diwali accounting for 63 of these, Victoria Day, 54 and Canada Day, 32. Complaints are likely underreported as email/phone complaints after the fact are not included in these totals.
The motion introducing these new regulations about non-compliance with city’s fireworks regulations was carried.