The Festival of Lights fireworks, hosted by Quality Foods for Comox’s Nautical Days, is being re-examined as an orca that arrived on July 23 has still not left.
A representative from Quality Foods says they are working alongside Fisheries and Oceans Canada and event organizers to make the best decision.
“We will take our cue from them, if they think it is unsafe we will absolutely abide by that,” said Rob MacKay, Director of Marketing for Quality Foods.
“We will do the right thing, we will not put any animals or humans at risk.”
Lifeforce, a non-profit Vancouver based ecology organization, says the fireworks planned for August 6 pose a threat to the orca and boaters near the Comox Marina Park.
“The orca appears stressed and exhibits agitated and aggressive behaviours,” said Peter Hamilton of Lifeforce in a statement.
“His unpredictable behaviours poses a threat to himself from injuries such as life-threatening propeller injuries and threats to boaters from collision and other interactions. He has recently grabbed a sailboat anchor and briefly towed it around.”
The group cites a decision in New Zealand to halt a fireworks display after a southern right whale visited a busy Wellington Harbour.
Transient killer whale T073B has puzzled experts as orcas have come into the busy harbour before but they never stay more than an hour.
“This orca has brought a rare opportunity for the citizens of the Comox Valley and elsewhere to enjoy the beauty of wild orcas”, said Hamilton.
In the meantime, all vessels are required to stay 200 metres away from any orca.