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Fireworks at Cockburn Rotary Spring Fair

2022 was the final time fireworks featured as part of entertainment at the Cockburn Rotary Spring Fair at Manning Park, Hamilton Hill.

Cockburn Council decision about the future of City-run fireworks

In March 2021, Cockburn Council resolved to continue to investigate alternatives to City fireworks displays with the aim of phasing out City-sponsored fireworks in the long term, but permitting fireworks in the short term.
This was the result of a City-commissioned Desktop Review and Impact Assessment (DRIA) in 2021.

As a result of the DRIA report, Council agreed at its March 2021 Ordinary Council Meeting to:
  • Develop a policy in relation to fireworks events
  • Continue to permit small, well organised fireworks in the City at appropriate venues in the short to medium term, and
  • Continue to investigate alternatives to City fireworks displays with the aim of phasing out City sponsored fireworks in the long term.
The spring fair committee is aware of the high level of enjoyment the fair's single short display of fireworks gave thousands in the broader community. It also understood the concerns about the impact of fireworks on Manning Park, its fauna, lake and surrounding bushland.


What did the DRIA determine about the impacts of fireworks at Manning Park?
It determined that while the impacts associated with the Manning Park fireworks were likely to be minimal there may need to be further investigation relating to the potential accumulation of contaminants from fireworks over time. The City intends to have the soil tested to establish a base level and monitor this for any changes into the future.
Will a single firework display impact the health of flora and fauna?
While it was unlikely a single firework display would produce contaminants in concentrations high enough to impact the quality of the soil and water, and health of flora and fauna, there was potential for contaminates to accumulate over time causing long-term impacts.
What did the DRIA determine is the effect of loud noises, like those associated with fireworks, on animals?
Loud noises, such as those produced by fireworks, are likely to cause a fear response for most animals such as flight, running or cowering, but medium or long-term impacts were unlikely.

Study findings suggest the fireworks are similar to a thunderstorm, with animals returning to their habitats afterwards. In a earlier study to examine impacts of fireworks on the park’s birdlife, birds were counted in the week before, during the spring fair immediately after the fireworks, the next day and following week after the fireworks, and birds had returned to nests, with no deaths attributable to the fireworks.

The greatest risk perceived to fauna and pets is that caused by blunt-force trauma injuries as animals try to flee the area.

To further minimise impacts, about 25 per cent of the 2021 display will be silent.
What other potential risks do fireworks pose to animals?
Light generated from a fireworks display is likely to cause a flight response in birds.

Packaging not entirely combusted during the explosion of a fireworks device will return to the ground creating a source of pollution or choking hazard for fauna. It is likely the Manning Park fireworks display was low impact as it was brief and only held once a year.  

The fireworks company had a stringent and sustainable practice of collecting the packaging and reusing it. Any litter from the fireworks was picked up after the event and again at first light the next morning. The City also had a clean-up crew onsite the following morning to clean up rubbish.
Has the City developed a policy in relation to fireworks events?
The City is in the process of developing a policy in relation to fireworks, it is expected to be finalised in 2022.
Has the City completed an analysis of the soil at the launch site and water from Manning Lake prior to and immediately following the fireworks display to assess for likely contaminants to quantify the impact of pollutants and consider establishing a long-term monitoring program?
The City is investigating this analysis regime and is sourcing quotes. This item was not included in the 2020-2021 budget as budgets were finalised before the 2021 report was published. This funding is under consideration for 2022-2023.
Has the City obtained a list of likely contaminants including the specific oxidising agent, potential metal particulates and any other potentially harmful products, from the firework supplier?
Yes. Please see the Desktop Review and Impact Assessment (DRIA). The information can also be sourced from the fireworks supplier.
What about the risk of fire?
The risk of fire was the final impact considered for the firework display in the report, and based on the information available, this risk was found to be appropriately managed by the City.
Does the City monitor the Manning Park area after the fireworks display to identify any injured wildlife?
Yes, this occurred annually. Foreworks will no longer be held as part of thsi event at Manning Park.
Will the City increase the number of silent fireworks used in future events?
Yes, the final 2022 spring fair fireworks were what is known in the industry as 'silent'.
Will the City continue to alert local residents well in advance of the event of the time and duration of the display?
Yes. Residents at homes surrounding Manning Park were notified by letter about a month before the event.
Will the City continue to ensure all waste is collected and appropriately disposed of following the event?
This is done immediately after fireworks with a follow up check done early the following morning, with a third review by fair clean-up crew.

It is important to note the contractor used by the City is responsible for the collection and recycling of remaining cardboard tubes and packaging. It also reuses equipment from the display such as copper wiring and fibreglass canisters where possible.
Will the City offer alternatives to firework displays in the future?
As part of Fremantle Biennale in November 2021, the City contributed $60,000 for two 15-minute choreographed light shows featuring a fleet of more than 160 drones.

The cost of the Manning Park fireworks was around $5,000. Based on past investigations, the current cost of some of the alternatives to fireworks far exceeds the entire Manning Park Spring Fair budget which is currently $73,000.

The City will continue to seek alternatives that are economically viable.

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaditj boodjar kep wer kaadidjiny kalyakool yoodaniny, wer koora wer yeyi ngalak Birdiya koota-djinanginy.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.