It wasn’t safe

Man in charge of Char­lot­te­town’s fire­works show says wind di­rec­tion Wed­nes­day night made con­di­tions un­safe for peo­ple in Vic­to­ria Park

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STEWART

It sim­ply wasn’t safe to set off the fire­works in Char­lot­te­town on Wed­nes­day night, says the man in charge of the show.

Ge­orge Wade, show de­signer for Nova Sco­tia-based Fire­works FX, told The Guardian on Thurs­day it’s his call at show time as to whether it’s safe to shoot.

The cap­i­tal city’s Canada Day fire­works ex­trav­a­ganza was called off about 20 min­utes be­fore the 10 p.m. sched­uled start due to the di­rec­tion of wind gusts.

The show was moved to Thurs­day night.

“I’m the one that makes the call whether the show shoots,’’ Wade said, adding that he’s given a time to start by or­ga­niz­ers and makes the call then.

It’s up to or­ga­niz­ers to call it off be­fore then.

The prob­lem Wed­nes­day night was the wind di­rec­tion, with gusts blow­ing di­rectly at Vic­to­ria Park.

“We know no shell is go­ing to land and blow up in the crowd. The is­sue I worry about is that you have an au­di­ence look­ing up in the sky and then these black par­ti­cles ( from fire­works that have gone off ) com­ing down in the sky and fill­ing ev­ery­body’s eyes with soot and sul­phur.’’

Wade said eight shows were called off in the Mar­itimes Wed­nes­day, in­clud­ing shows in Cornwall as well as Hal­i­fax.

Donna Hurry, tourism of­fi­cer with the City of Char­lot­te­town, said the wind di­rec­tion wasn’t a prob­lem at 9 p.m. on Wed­nes­day but the di­rec­tion of the wind changed.

“As an or­ga­nizer, you’re re­ally dis­ap­pointed that you can’t pull off some­thing that you worked on for months,’’ Hurry said.

Bar­bara Joslin, who was at Vic­to­ria Park for the show, wasn’t im­pressed at how things were han­dled.

“We were close enough to hear the an­nounce­ment,’’ Joslin told The Guardian.

“Hon­estly, there was barely a breeze. Peo­ple were con­fused and no one knew if the an­nounce­ment (that the show was post­poned) was for real. This was very poorly han­dled.’’

Trevor Wade MacIn­nis said he agreed with the de­ci­sion to post­pone Wed­nes­day.

“My 13-year-old daugh­ter? Not so happy,’’ MacIn­nis said. “Hope­fully the de­ci­sion was made with safety in mind.’’

Ryan Gil­lis said they made the right call.

“I was at Fish­bones on the rooftop and the wind was whip­ping in around the build­ings up there but not un­til shortly be­fore the sup­posed start time,’’ Gil­lis said. “Safety first.’’

Robyn McCor­mack said she un­der­stands peo­ple were dis­ap­pointed but safety comes first.

“Can you just imag­ine the out­cry had they gone ahead with them and, God for­bid, some­one were to be in­jured?’’ McCor­mack said.

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