Bylaw up in smoke

Halloween night was nothing but noise for some in Surrey.

Your publication’s praise for the city’s enforcement of Surrey’s fireworks bylaw on Halloween was disappointing.

I know that Surrey does not have a large force of bylaw officers, but six officers giving out 10 tickets in a night seems like an exercise in futility. Obviously, by the time a complaint is received and the officers actually arrive, the show is almost certainly over and no evidence can be found.

Noise complaints are going down because residents know it’s pointless to do so.

Bylaws manager Jas Rehal’s description of “a bit” of noise from firecrackers going off is possibly the understatement of the year. While the dollar figure of the seized fireworks may sound impressive, the actual experience in my neighbourhood was even worse than in years past.

On Oct. 30, I took a walk down 152 Street near Fraser Highway around 7 p.m. and not only was the sky eerily luminous with the smoke from all the explosions, the neighbourhood sounded like a war documentary from city besieged by machine-gun fire.

Then, on Halloween night itself, some “friendly” neighbours set off a wheelbarrow full of fireworks directly outside our house and moved about 150 metres away when I spoke to them about it.

Another nearby resident actually had a flatbed truck in their front yard to use as a platform for their ordnance.

Needless to say, between cleaning up my traumatized senior dog’s urine and vomit and seeing her suffer in abject terror for the next two hours (and be too scared to even go outside at night for the next week) did not “wrap up a nice evening” as one commenter on your website suggested.

In short, Surrey has a bylaw prohibiting fireworks and citizens have a responsibility to abide by it. The current enforcement efforts using bylaw officers and RCMP is not effective.

I love living in Surrey but I positively dread this time of year as it is so unpleasant and distressing.

The city needs to get creative in finding ways to engage citizens and neighbours in making this time of year pleasant and safe for all.

 

Carol Davison

Surrey

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