Surrey Mounties responded to more than 900 calls for service on Halloween night but encountered no large parties during what had to be one of the noisiest evening for fireworks on local record.
“There were no gatherings that were greater than 50 but because of the new update with the public health orders being that you cannot exceed your immediate family and your safe six, those are still considered to be too big. No parties where there were hundreds of people,” Corporal Joanie Sidhu said.
On Halloween night the COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team conducted 150 “proactive” compliance checks with public health orders. The Surrey RCMP also received 24 calls for service for COVID-19 related complaints.
“There was a high rate of compliance with only three instances of non-compliance. While there were no tickets that were issued throughout the night there were a total of seven warnings issued under the COVID-19 Regulations and Measures Act for large groups,” Sidhu said. “No fines, seven warnings, and then the large groups were groups that exceeded the new health warnings of having your immediate family and the ‘Safe Six.’”
One warning was issued under the Quarantine Act. “This wasn’t an individual that tested positive themself. It was a person who was ordered to quarantine because they were at a location where someone had to.”
Fireworks-related fines were issued throughout the night, Sidhu said, but she could not produce a number. “It’s really hard to differentiate between all the files we did have that night where there were ones where a ticket was issued.”
Sidhu said there were 324 bylaws-related calls for noise complaints, “as well as fireworks and large groups.”
The Surrey RCMP is not aware of any significant crimes being committed in the city on Halloween night, she added.
Meantime, City of Surrey communications project panager Amber Stowe said Surrey’s bylaws enforcement officers attended 102 sites, seized 76 “batches” of fireworks and issued four fireworks-related tickets, at $250 apiece.
Surrey Deputy Fire Chief Jason Cairney said Monday that Halloween night was free of major trouble, despite the city-wide cacaphony of fireworks.
“We didn’t have very many calls that were fireworks-related,” Cairney said. “From an impact, where the fire service responded, we didn’t not have very many incidents that I’m aware of.
“Not this year. Last year we did have that apartment fire that was mostly likely caused by careless use of fireworks. That was quite impactful last year, but this year no, nothing significant. There was a couple of small incidents that occurred.”
Cairney was referring to a three-alarm fire on Halloween night in 2019, at an apartment building in the 10600-block of 150th Street in Guildford, that displaced nearly 100 residents.
While Halloween night, and Diwali on Saturday, Nov. 14, give some people cause to light up the night’s sky with fireworks while neighbours grin and bear it, ome altogether hate the bombardment.
Every year, the Now-Leader receives complaints from readers and 2020 has been no exception.
“It is illegal to buy-sell or set off fireworks in Surrey without a permit but only one permit was sold in 2019,” Gord Sholz noted. “Yet the newton area is a war zone. I need the mayor to explain to the citizens of Surrey how is he going to stop this madness.”
Last year the Surrey RCMP received 147 fireworks complaints on Diwali and 121 on Halloween.
According to a City of Surrey press release, fireworks are not allowed to be sold or discharged in Surrey without a valid permit issued by the Surrey fire department as well as a federal Fireworks Supervisor Certificate.