Fireworks – my comments at Subcouncil meeting

The City’s track record on listening to the publics concerns, is dismal. It even routinely ignores the SPCA.  Instead of not approving any sites for their discharge (best case scenario), or reducing them to 2 or 3 sites where the least social impact can occur, the City blasts ahead year after year, blaming national government.

These are the bullet point notes of the speech I delivered at the Subcouncil meeting

  • The report is incomplete and ought to be rejected because it only mentions the number of applications for sites received via Subcouncils but does not attach these applications to the report, which is a standard for City reports.
  • We know that the City receives hundreds of complaints and petitions from RPA’s, organisations and individuals around the city before and after these events.  Yet the report makes no mention of any complaints and petitions submitted and these are also not attached.  The report purposefully gives the false impression that none exist.   This amounts to misleading the Subcouncil.
  • It ignores the trauma caused to the elderly, the infirm, the mentally ill and animals.
  • Ignores the NSPCA’s long history of campaigning against fireworks and objecting to the City’s plans.
  • The report also provides no statistics of injuries to adults, children and animals, damage to the environment of veld fires, damage to property, etc, that the City and the public has recorded.  The report purposefully gives the false impression that no such instances occur. This also amounts to misleading the Subcouncil.
  • The report makes no mention of what Law Enforcement staffing levels have been provided in the past, what problems were experienced and how the City plans to address these going forward. The report is therefore deficient in terms of the previous financial implications to Council, thus no cost comparisons are possible.
  • The report also makes no mention of the number of fines issued and arrests made in previous fireworks events, what behaviour(s) causes this Law Enforcement action, or where these actions took place.
  • When we’ve asked why the City designates ANY sites, the standard answer is that national government has the legislative competency to ban the import, production and sale of fireworks or restrict usage by age.  While I agree that’s true, it’s a red herring to blame national government when local government is the competent authority to designate sites or NOT to designate sites for the legal discharge of fireworks.
  • Furthermore, the City is NOT duty bound to make ANY designated places available for the discharge of fireworks.
  • Also, the City is the competent authority for the regulation of the nuisance value of fireworks, by limiting all forms of damage and generally regulating the use of fireworks.
  • The report also ignores that other municipalities have banned the discharge of fireworks in their areas of jurisdiction and not designated any sites.
  • Given these factors it makes no sense to increase the number of sites or to keep them at 12, when fewer sites means more control, more LE, less damage, injury and trauma.
  • The ACDP has always voted against the designation of 12 sites and recommends the designation of 2 or 3 sites in unpopulated areas if the City insists on designating any sits at all.
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