Safety along the route

Nova Sco­tia tragedy on the minds of Christ­mas pa­rade or­ga­niz­ers on the Burin Penin­sula

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY PAUL HERRIDGE MARYS­TOWN/BURIN, N.L.

Be­ing in­volved in the Kins­men Santa Claus Pa­rade in Marys­town for much of its 50-year ex­is­tence, Dan Walsh was up­set to learn of the death of a lit­tle girl dur­ing fes­tiv­i­ties in Nova Sco­tia on Nov. 24.

“My heart come up in my throat when I heard it,” Walsh told The South­ern Gazette on Tues­day, Nov. 27.

Ac­cord­ing to the RCMP, fouryear-old MaCali Cormier fell un­der­neath a mov­ing float while run­ning next to it dur­ing Yar­mouth’s Christ­mas Pa­rade of Lights.

Walsh, chair­man of the Marys­town Kins­men pa­rade, says the chief rule they have in place is a ban on throw­ing candy from floats.

“We make that known to ev­ery float that’s in the pa­rade, there’s no throw­ing out candy,” he said. “If you got candy, you can walk into the crowd to dis­pense the candy, but you can’t throw it.”

Walsh ad­mits that rule can be hard to en­force.

“You can’t be look­ing at ev­ery float, when you’ve got 30 or 40 floats in the pa­rade,” he said. “A lot of peo­ple don’t do it any more, thank God, but we used to have prob­lems years ago.”

Ac­cord­ing to Walsh, peo­ple and groups who put floats in the pa­rade, par­tic­u­larly where kids are in­volved, are re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing they keep safety in mind.

Change in Burin

Burin town man­ager Leo Hart­son, mean­while, told The South­ern Gazette a prob­lem iden­ti­fied by the town’s fire depart­ment dur­ing last year’s pa­rade was driven home with the ac­ci­dent in Nova Sco­tia.

At the be­hest of the town coun­cil, Hart­son has con­tacted the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works to re­quest there be a com­plete shut­down of the pa­rade route 10 min­utes prior to its start.

“Traf­fic would be com­ing along and then when they meet the pa­rade, they’d pull off, but they were pulling off in front of the kids, so you had cars on the side of the road with the kids ac­tu­ally be­hind them so they couldn’t see the pa­rade,” Hart­son ex­plained.

The pa­rade route in Burin fol­lows along Main Street from the park­ing lot at Bethany United Church to Col­lege of the North At­lantic. The road is main­tained by the province, thus the need to con­tact the depart­ment.

“The fire depart­ment iden­ti­fied the con­cern of cars be­ing so close to the kids,” Hart­son said.

One of the other things the town does with safety in mind is ask the RCMP, which leads the pa­rade, to put the floats in the cen­tre of the road­way so that they are an equal dis­tance from chil­dren along both sides of the street, Hart­son ex­plained.

As well, throw­ing treats from floats is also pro­hib­ited in Burin and a re­minder is is­sued dur­ing the lineup for the pa­rade.

“You’re try­ing to be as cau­tious as pos­si­ble not for any­thing to go wrong,” Hart­son said.

FILE PHOTO

Mem­bers of Burin Penin­sula Ground Search and Res­cue hand out treats dur­ing the 2017 Christ­mas pa­rade in Burin.

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