'Grinch that stole Christmas move': CBRM bans nighttime parades, makes them shorter
Published Thursday, October 10, 2019 10:07PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, October 11, 2019 8:52AM ADT
SYDNEY -- Nighttime parades have been a holiday tradition in many communities for years, but it will be lights out this year in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality after seven councillors voted to put an end to the nighttime events.
"This is the Grinch that stole Christmas move," said Chief Lloyd MacIntosh of the North Sydney Volunteer Fire Department."This is completely not even in character of the Christmas season at all."
The move was made, in part, as a safety measure after the tragic death of a four-year-old girl at last year's Christmas parade in Yarmouth, N.S.
"There is absolutely no way I will support nighttime parades," said Cape Breton Regional Coun. Steve Gillespie.
Gillespie is one of the councillors that says it's harder to police a parade in the dark.
"You're going to get people throwing candy, you are going to get vehicles that shouldn't be allowed," Gillespie said. "You can enforce it, you can do whatever you want, but I witnessed it myself, and if you think it's pretty, try going to the funeral of a four-year-old."
Council voted 7-4 on a motion that parades of all kinds must be held during daylight hours.
Mayor Cecil Clarke was against the move, saying nighttime parades in other communities, such as Halifax's Parade of Lights, are executed properly and safely.
"When you have parades such as Halifax and you have 100,000 people coming to them, you have to look that a lot of effort goes into it and it's a community priority to have that and safety being paramount," said Clarke. "I walked in the Halifax Pride Parade, it was a lot of people having fun, chaotic fun at times, but it was all done safely."
In addition to eliminating nighttime parades, council also voted to make them shorter. Four kilometres is the maximum length one can be.
Back in North Sydney, MacIntosh feels it's a short-sighted decision with no public consultation.
"Hopefully this decision can be reversed," MacIntosh said. "If it's a matter of insurance, then let's talk about it. Is it a matter of dollars and cents? Let's figure it out."
A motion has also been put forward recommending just two parades each year -- a Pride parade and a Christmas parade. A final decision on that motion will be made next month.