An Abbotsford man is questioning the enforcement of the city’s fireworks ban he complained about a neighbour’s roman candles landing in his yard only to be told that his neighbours were celebrating “safely.”
Alex Green said he called police Wednesday night after debris from roman candles set off next door landed in his back yard. He said he was particularly concerned because several homes in the area have cedar shakes on their roofs.
Green said he called the non-emergency police line, only to be told to call 911 if he was worried about public safety. When he did so, he was told that his complaints shouldn’t be handled by 911. Green ended up texting the APD with his complaint, but when he followed up later to ask about the chance that an officer would attend, he was told: “It looks like police have already attended and they advised that it is numerous families in the area celebrating Diwali safely.”
Green said he was surprised by the suggestion that the celebrations were occurring “safely,” noting that fireworks are banned in the city.
“I thought fireworks are a big deal,” he said. “Either dump [the bylaw] in the garbage can, or enforce it.”
Abbotsford Police Sgt. Judy Bird told The News that complaints about fireworks are taken seriously.
But Bird said Green shouldn’t be left thinking police excuse the lighting of fireworks if done “safely.”
She noted that when people call 911 or text the APD, they end up communicating with a dispatcher working out of Vancouver and handling calls for dozens of communities with different fireworks rules and policies. She said anyone displeased with the response from dispatchers should call the APD’s non-emergency line and ask to speak to a supervisor at the APD.