Gananoque council has decided to maintain the status quo when it comes to the use of fireworks at Town events, instead of using drones.
This was decided on during Tuesday’s council meeting at Town Hall.
On June 20, council passed a motion directing staff to provide a report on alternatives to fireworks displays at town events, recognizing that noise negatively affects wildlife, domestic animals, people and the environment.
Staff requested direction from council on how they wish to proceed with large outdoor displays for events.
For 2024, there is one large event planned for an outdoor display, which is on July 1, for Canada Day. The Town has budgeted $13,000 for an outdoor display which is in line with budgeted amounts for previous years.
Staff has researched and has found only one alternative to a large fireworks display and that is a show put together by drones. These displays are slowly starting to become more popular because of their uniqueness and being an alternative to fireworks.
Staff contacted a few firms that do outdoor displays and found the following information: a $13,000 budget provides a fireworks show of approximately 20 minutes, while a $13,000 budget provides a drone show of approximately 10 minutes.
Council was given three options: maintaining the status quo, approving the drone display for 10 minutes, and the third option was to approve a drone display for 20 minutes and increase the special events budget by $13,000, funding the additional cost from the community grant reserve.
Coun. Matt Harper was in favour of option one – maintaining the status quo. So too was Coun. Matt Harper.
“I can appreciate some of the concern,” said Harper. “For me, Canada Day, I expect fireworks. One day the price might be the same or cheaper but it’s not there. And to me, the sound is part of it, part of the glits and glamour. I’m not in favour of the drone at this time.”
Deputy Mayor Vicki Leakey and Coun. Anne-Marie Koiner threw their support behind the use of drones instead.
“There is something that might be learned from seeing what a drone display can do, and it’s popular in other places,” said Leakey. “I’m not going to be one who drags my feet when it comes to changes, but I will drag my feet on spending more money.”