CBRM reviewed the parade rules after a tragic death in the Yarmouth Christmas parade | Local | News



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SYDNEY, N.S. – Joe Costello did not sleep well on Saturday night.

But that wasn't because the Sydney Santa Parade he helped manage had experienced a big problem. Overall, the annual program that pleases thousands of spectators along its five-kilometer route is a tremendous success and goes without a hitch.

His concern was caused by the tragic news he had heard when he returned home after the march. Costello said he had just entered the door when he learned of the death of a four-year-old girl who had fallen under a float during Yarmouth's annual Christmas parade.

"As a parent and as an organizer, when I heard about the Yarmouth tragedy, it was truly devastating – it made me really think about everything we had done," said Costello, coordinator of the recreational program with Cape Breton Regional Municipality. .

Joe Costello
Joe Costello

"This is a very emotional time now, but I think it's important for us to look deeper into what we do by taking emotions from it, ensuring that we have all the bases we cover and that we do our best to protect the participants and spectators to ensure that everyone has a pleasant time with this parade, and other CBRM events, for a long time to come. "

For this reason, senior municipal staff and the recreation department are expected to meet this week to discuss what additional actions might be considered to prevent incidents like Saturday's tragedy at Yarmouth.

According to Costello, safety is the organizer's top priority. He said strict regulations already existed and were strengthened to float operators and parade participants when they registered in the pre-parade staging area.

He noted that the rules stipulate that people in buoys must safely ride and that their feet cannot dangle on the edge, and that those who ride floats are not permitted to go up or down. Costello also said a special parade march was going up and down the inspection procession to make sure the rules, such as the "no throwing candy" rule and other rules were followed.

"We also have members of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service on site," he said.

"We asked them to lead the march, we have one police officer on a motorcycle, we have one more on a bicycle and we have more at a key intersection that ensures that there are no traffic problems and that the parade regulations are followed, and the audience is safe. "

However, Costello said that when it comes to large events such as parades, the safety of all those involved is a shared responsibility.

"We do what we can, but we also rely on parents and adults to be there and look for children," he said.

Gerald Hazelhurst
Gerald Hazelhurst

The first veteran respondent Gerald Hazelhurst agreed that the Sydney Santa parade was one of the safest around it. He attended hundreds of public events, including marches, as a member of the Ambulance St. John and the Red Cross.

"I don't remember there was a serious problem in one of the many parades I participated in," Hazelhurst said.

"But with that you have to be careful for the children, just look at their eyes when Santa is coming, they are all excited and jumping up and down."

Related:

• Communities to show their support for the girl's family at dusk Monday night at Yarmouth

• Heartache in Yarmouth after the death of a young girl after the Christmas parade tragedy

He also argues that adults create situations that are more dangerous than children.

"I have seen many adults crossing right in front of the buoy to get to the other side of the road – they don't think about it," he said.

"But the most dangerous part of the parade is when it's over – traffic can be very terrible, and some people seem to lose the spirit of Christmas once the parade is over and they can't wait to get out of there."

Meanwhile, the municipal Santa Claus parade schedule continues on Friday at Louisbourg (7 nights), on Saturdays at Reserve Mines (1pm) and Glace Bay (6pm), on Sundays at Dominion (16:15) and in North Sydney on Saturday, December 8 (at 6 pm).

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