Cape Breton Regional Council upholds ban on nighttime parades
SYDNEY -- The tradition of lighting up the night for a Christmas parade has been a hot-button topic for weeks in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
On Monday, it was settled at an impassioned discussion at council.
"I am pleading to my colleagues to come together and reinstate our evening parades," said Coun. Earlene MacMullin.
Just under a month ago, council voted seven-to-four to end nighttime parades in part due to safety concerns after the tragic death of a little girl at last year's Christmas parade in Yarmouth.
"It's something that there was never an issue with and now, we've created an issue," said Coun. Amanda McDougall.
On Monday, McDougall put forward a request to consider reversing the decision on the nighttime ban after she and other councillors were contacted by angry residents wanting to keep their community customs.
Eventually, the room heard from police, who recommended the change in the first place.
"Ultimately, the police are responsible for safety," Staff Sgt. Joe Farrell told council."And as the traffic authority, we're recommending against the nighttime parades."
Council voted six-to-four against the motion so the ban on nighttime parades will remain.
"God forbid if something happened, and I didn't accept that recommendation from police," said Coun. Darren Bruckschwaiger. "I'd have a hard time living with myself, Mr. Mayor."
North Sydney Fire Chief Lloyd MacIntosh says he respects council's decision, but he's disappointed.
Some have told him they won't take part in a daytime parade, meaning there might not be one in North Sydney this year.
"It's a stretch for our manpower," said MacIntosh. "We had lots of manpower around for the evening, we may not have that availability during the day."
Some still maintain there wasn't enough public consultation.
"Things that affect our communities have to be brought to the public," said Kendra Coombes. "That didn't happen in this situation."
Said Amanda McDougall: "I hope we can find new ways to go forward and keep celebrating our communities, but I know this is a big hit to community spirit, for sure."