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Decision to douse fireworks disappoints

Letter to the Editor RE: Recreation Committee stepping back from Canada Day fireworks display

The reasons put forward by the Picton Recreation Committee for eliminating Canada Day fireworks border on the ludicrous. (It stated ‘Fireworks are beautiful and most of us enjoy them, but aside from the tremendous cost —last year’s 15-minute display was $6500– we are finding out more and more about the ominous, irreversible effects they have on our environment… pollution… companion animals and wildlife’)

The sad case of a runaway dog was the result of its owner’s negligence. The responsibility of pet ownership includes protecting your pet from harm. Being unleashed and exposed to the possible traumatic effects of the owner’s or a neighbour’s decision to set off fireworks does not demonstrate responsible ownership. They had to know that loud noises frightened it. The dog was in a strange place and allowed to be off-leash?

The area of Marsh Creek mentioned is actually the closed Delhi Park landfill site—previously Picton’s municipal dump. Water and sediment testing has shown that six ground water contaminants and 12 sediment contaminants exceed potable water standards. All of these contaminants are found at Picton’s water intake. Any negative effects resulting from a 15-minute fireworks display pale in comparison.

Many families look forward to that public celebration in the park. Not having an organized public fireworks display on Canada Day will only encourage a greater number of people to buy their own.

And to complain about the “bags and bags of litter and debris left behind by spectators” is no more than a shallow comment about disrespectful behaviour which is all too pervasive. Littering happens at any public event no matter where it is. To those of us who are responsible citizens and do not litter, this comment is insulting.

It is sad to see the unhappy changes that have been taking place in Picton, many of them brought about by people who have no idea of what certain traditions mean locally. It was not the Delhi Park Canada Day fireworks that scared that poor dog. Cancelling the fireworks cannot protect our pets.

First the loss of the Cenotaph Park Christmas tree, and now the elimination of a Canada Day institution. What’s next?

Conrad Biernacki
Black River PEC

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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  1. Jim says:

    Thanks Sobey’s for selling those reusable net bags. Been using them for a month or so and they seem strong and just the right size green peppers ,mushrooms, bok choy etc…you see where I’m going. Now on to the black plastics.

  2. Angela says:

    I expect that more people will buy their own fireworks this year and the decrease in pollution will be insignificant overall. Too late for the hedgerows. They’re gone and who is going to step on Timmy’s toes or Ronald Mcdonald’s? We turn a blind eye when it suits us. Noble of Sobey’s to stop selling plastic bags for a nickle and switch to paper for a dime.

  3. ADJ says:

    Never realized fireworks were so expensive and certainly didn’t think they might be polluting. I’ve always thought they were a waste of money…$6500. for 30–45 min. of noise and colors.
    The County needs to cut excessive spending and like 10 yrs. ago! If you love the fireworks put on your own display and save the taxpayers a bunch!

    Where does the black meat trays,coffee lids etc. originate from and why? Why can’t they be changed? Would Sobeys wrap my roast in brown butcher paper?

  4. Chris Keen says:

    The point is many short or small “insignificant” actions collectively add up to huge consequences for the environment – a hedgerow here, fireworks there, plastic bottles in a ditch, Tims cups on the side of the road …

  5. Angela says:

    Potentially almost everything we do contributes to pollution. The drive-thrus at Timmys, Mcdonald’s and other fast food outlets create massive quantities of plastic. A lot of it finds its way into roadside ditches. Plastic water bottles are a big contributor to the problem. We can and should adopt all reasonable measures to eliminate these pollutants but a short fireworks display is not going to significantly damage our environment compared with other existing pollutants. If loud noises frighten birds right out of their nests what about gunfire in hunting season? It must scare the wits out of songbirds and literally frighten the life out of ducks and geese. How about those bird bangers we hear in the summer? Don’t scare a deer with firecrackers but feel free to shoot at it in hunting season. Firecrackers have been used to celebrate holidays for decades. I doubt that they have been identified as major pollutants or a serious threat to wildlife and domestic pets. No one was concerned about wildlife when all of those hedgerows were ripped out to make enormous farm fields. If we ban fireworks then shouldn’t we ban hunting and bird bangers and the removal of hedgerows? How about calling a halt to Santa Claus parades because those loud bands scare dogs. I’ve seen that happen on Main Street and often wondered why owners stupidly bring their dogs to the parades. We need to strike a balance between what is right and reasonable and what is going overboard. The next time you are in a supermarket take a look at all those cases of plastic water bottles. Look in the deli and frozen sections and make note of all the black plastic trays that are not recyclable and then compare with a short fireworks display that takes place once a year. It’s enough to make you put down your plastic water bottle as you pull your Stauffer’s entre out of the microwave and think for a minute.

  6. Chris Keen says:

    The loud sounds of fireworks can cause fear, stress and anxiety in wild animals, not just people’s pets. Birds and other small mammals can abandon their nests, leaving their offspring behind. The loud bangs can cause disorientation, decreasing the ability of wildlife to locate their homes.

    Despite their short duration, they cause extensive air pollution. Fireworks leave metal particles, dangerous toxins, harmful chemicals and smoke in the air for hours and sometimes days. Some of these toxins never decompose or disintegrate fully poisoning the environment. Exposure for those with heart or lung disease, older adults and children to fine particles in the smoke and haze, is linked to negative health implications, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma attacks and even heart attacks.

    In a fireworks display, those particles that fall to the ground (chemicals and actual physical pieces of waste) often contain propellant chemicals and colorants. These find their way into the soil and our water systems. Many of the raw materials used to create fireworks are mined from mountains elsewhere in the world, a destructive process that cuts down another community’s forests and destroys their wildlife habitats.

    If we as a community are serious about ushering in sound environmental practices, then small steps such as ending the Canada Day fireworks is a positive one. Arguing that the site is already polluted is no reason for adding more toxins to it. Maintaining that something is an “institution” is no justification for continuing it in the face of the damage it causes.

  7. Angela says:

    For years there were fireworks at the Picton Legion on Canada Day and a program of events. Is it necessary to spend $6500. to provide some pyrotechnics. Wouldn’t it be possible to scale back a little and still put on a display? It’s been a tradition here for many many years and it is unlikely to significantly damage the environment. It should not be all or nothing.

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