Bainbridge council will ban fireworks on island at next meeting | UPDATE

The Bainbridge Island City Council is looking at banning completely the sale and use of consumer fireworks on Bainbridge Island.

While the city has, in the past, banned the use of consumer fireworks due to dangerously dry conditions around the Fourth of July holiday, Bainbridge currently does allow the sale of consumer fireworks on the island between noon to 11 p.m., July 1 through July 4.

Fireworks can be discharged on the island during a six-hour window each July 4, from 5 to 11 p.m., but new restrictions under consideration by the Bainbridge council would prohibit the sale and use of consumer fireworks on the island.

Large public displays of fireworks would still be allowed, if approved by the fire marshal.

Banning personal fireworks has been a reoccurring topic on the island, with some on Bainbridge raising concerns about noise and frightened pets, and pollution, in the aftermath of nearly every Independence Day holiday.

Countywide, past suggestions for the banning of personal fireworks have fizzled.

Kitsap County voters rejected — via an advisory vote in November 2004 — a proposal for banning fireworks, with 57 percent voting “no” on a ban, and 42 percent voting “yes.”

The suggestion for a fireworks ban came up during the end-of-night council comments at the Bainbridge city council’s study session on June 18.

More recently, the council was given a briefing on the ban at its last meeting in September. The council agreed then to move the ban to the Oct. 8 meeting for final approval.

Most on the council were supportive — except for Mayor Kol Medina.

“I have been dreading this moment since it was brought up by someone on council a few months ago,” Medina said.

Fire Chief Hank Teran told the council he supported the ban.

“I’ve seen a significant, significant change in our climate here,” Teran said. “It’s hotter; it’s drier.”

The chief said it would be beneficial to reduce the rise of fires, as well as lessen impacts to wildlife and the amount of debris left behind by the discharge of fireworks.

Council members said that times had changed, and they supported the prohibition.

“I wish we could ban the Eagle Harbor show, as well,” added Councilwoman Sarah Blossom.

“I can’t support it,” Medina added at the end.

He said it was personal, and noted that the Fourth of July is his birthday. He added that he understood the concerns raised by others.

“I’m just not willing to take a vote to remove that part of my life,” he said.

“It’s one day a year,” Medina added. He said the ban was also rushed onto the agenda.

“I’m going to take the wild position on this,” he said, adding that he would abstain from the vote.

If the new restrictions are approved in October, the ban would become effective one year after it is adopted by the council.

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