Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents planning to host Halloween parties might get a knock on their door from the police.
Ridge Meadows RCMP say they will enforce the Public Health Officer’s order to limit all gatherings to no more than your immediate household plus a maximum of six others. That order went into effect on Tuesday, in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases.
According to spokesperson Const. Julie Klaussner, the “Ridge Meadows RCMP will be resourced appropriately for Oct. 31.”
“Police trust that the public is going to abide by the current COVID guidelines as set forth by the province,” said Klaussner. “That being said, police are prepared to enforce COVID health orders if necessary.”
Police also warned the public against using fireworks in a fun social media post, while fire officials reminded the public it is illegal for the general public to use, possess or sell fireworks in both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Maple Ridge Fire Chief Howard Exner is still expecting Saturday will be a busy night, despite the fact fireworks have been outlawed in the city since 2004.
“It sounded like a war zone at my house last night,” said Exner Friday.
Despite the ban, people continue to use products that are unsafe, and firefighters get called.
“We’ve had houses burn down, had hedges and green spaces burned, and had just horrific injuries,” said Exner.
The career firefighter recalled one incident in which people shooting Roman candles at each other burned down a house, and said problems arise when people don’t use fireworks as intended, or attempt to alter them.
He noted firecrackers are illegal across Canada. Fireworks can only be legally used by someone who gets a permit from city hall. In both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, they must have obtained a fireworks supervisor’s certificate, have $5 million in liability insurance and provide the city with a site plan showing clearances.
Under the Maple Ridge bylaw, the fine for possessing fireworks is $200 plus confiscation of all fireworks.
A person causing a fire with firework will be billed $300 per hour for each fire truck at the scene, plus $30 per hour for each firefighter. Exner said it can tally into the thousands very quickly, and it is a cost that has been passed on to those causing fires in the past.