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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Christmas festivals in CBRM may be better option than parades

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

We have all heard the rants over the recent Christmas parade held in Sydney and I’m sure most, if not all, would agree that the parade was not up to standard in comparison to Christmas parades we have had in the past.

I believe the whole parade situation got way out of hand beginning in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) council chambers. Debates had no structure and were very lengthy. The parade decisions should have been discussed a lot earlier, not at the 11th hour.

My suggestion going forward is to have some type of parade committee consisting of two councillors, two CBRM staff and at least two CBRM constituents from each community. These would be people who actually go out and watch the parade and bring their children, etc.

Fire and police could be involved to give safety recommendations but the committee would come up with a plan whether it would be a daytime or nighttime parade, or some other event. They would plan out the event, entry rules and safety rules (using recommendations), and bring it back to the council for final approval.

Maybe Christmas festivals would be a safer event instead of moving parades. There is a park or a large common area in each CBRM community for this type of event.

For example, in Sydney there is the Open Hearth Park. The park is a beautiful and it is a central space. The festival could run from 4-7 p.m. In that way the younger kids could still experience the fun, but would not have to be out late. The festival lights could come on around the time it starts to get dark.

This would be a great opportunity for businesses to become involved and get creative with their displays. Fire trucks could park in the parking lot and kids could get into them (as was done for Halloween). Cadet bands and local musicians could be asked to play during the festival. Santa could have a nice warm seat at the festival where kids can come up to him with their letters and parents can take a picture. There could be some of Santa’s elves making their way through the crowds with candy canes for the children. Free hot chocolate could be offered. Christmas ‘Blow Up’ props could be purchased to decorate the area and be used in each community.

This is just one idea and an example of how CBRM officials and constituents could come together to bring the Christmas spirit to each community. Hopefully things will turn around next year and the celebrations will be bigger and better than ever.

Kim Sheppard

Whitney Pier

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