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City of Charlottetown plans to address delay and safety issues for next year’s Christmas parade

Freezing temperatures didn’t deter thousands of spectators from catching a glimpse of Santa Claus in his sleigh at the 20th annual Charlottetown Christmas Parade on Saturday.
Santa and Mrs. Claus in their sleigh at the 20th annual Charlottetown Christmas Parade on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. -File

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The City of Charlottetown plans on recruiting more volunteers and security for next year’s Christmas parade.

This year’s parade last month was late in starting because police say people failed to obey barricades along the route. There were also complaints that the pace of the parade was slow.

The city held a debriefing meeting this past Wednesday with staff from tourism and events, communications, police, public works and the chief administrative officer to discuss ways to make things flow smoother in 2019. The parade draws an average of 30,000 people a year.

Charlottetown police are responsible for securing the route and giving the all-clear for it to start.

Laurel Lea, the city’s tourism officer, said while everything was fine at the barricade located at the stationing area close to Enman Crescent, police observed problems on the east-west routes such as Belvedere Avenue, Kirkwood Drive and Allen Street where people were going around the barricades. Thus the delay.

“We will be reviewing the actual parade route. We’ll be looking for potential improvements on where we stage the floats and also noting hot spots where large crowds tend to gather along the route.’’
-Laurel Lea

Laurel Lea is the City of Charlottetown's tourism officer.
Laurel Lea is the City of Charlottetown's tourism officer.

“We will be reviewing the actual parade route,’’ Lea said. “We’ll be looking for potential improvements on where we stage the floats and also noting hot spots where large crowds tend to gather along the route.’’

Consideration will be given to stationing volunteers or additional security in those areas to ensure people stay off the route.

The city will also be reviewing barricade positioning and may look at adding additional barricades in hot spot areas.

“We’ll also be recruiting volunteers who are going to travel the route during the parade that are going to help with the overall pace of the parade to make sure that floats are travelling at a consistent rate of speed.’’

The tragedy in Yarmouth, N.S., where a young child was killed during a recent Christmas parade, was also discussed on Wednesday. Volunteers will be reminding parents to keep their children away from the floats.

“We just want it to be an enjoyable experience,’’ Lea said. “When we have delays, it’s not enjoyable (especially) when you are waiting with your children, but we need to ensure that route is secure before we can start the parade. We believe the items we have identified are going to assist us.’’

dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Twitter.com/DveStewart

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