Fireworks

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The City of Cockburn holds one firework display each year, a 12-minute display at the annual Cockburn Rotary Spring Fair held in Hamilton Hill each October.

Some residents have concerns about the environmental impact of fireworks on Manning Park, its fauna, lake and surrounding bushland.

The City commissioned a Desktop Review and Impact Assessment (DRIA) in 2021.

The report is available below.

As a result of the 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 enjoyment this single short display of fireworks gives thousands in the broader community but completely understands the concerns of some people in the community.

The DRIA suggests the Manning Park fireworks display is low impact as it is brief and only held once a year.  
 

FAQs

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 are 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 is unlikely that a single firework display will produce contaminants in concentrations high enough to impact the quality of the soil and water, and health of flora and fauna, there is the 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 is low impact as it is brief and only held once a year.  

The fireworks company has a stringent and sustainable practice of collecting the packaging and reusing it. Any litter from the fireworks is picked up after the event and again at first light the next morning. The City also has 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 occurs annually.
 
Will the City increase the number of silent fireworks used in future events?
Yes, 25 percent of the 2021 display will be 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 are 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 the 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 this November, the City has contributed $60,000 for two 15-minute choreographed light shows featuring a fleet of more than 160 drones.

The current cost of the Manning Park fireworks is 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.
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We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.