Santa Claus parade moves on from inspection kerfuffle

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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New inspector in place for very merry downtown St. John’s event

With a surprising controversy out of the way after an issue with float inspections was brought up publicly in the House of Assembly last week, the annual Downtown St. John’s Christmas Parade can focus now on what it’s modus operandi is all about — getting families excited about the holiday season.

Gaylynne Lambert from the Downtown Development Commission said Islander RV has volunteered to inspect towing mechanisms on floats participating in the annual parade.

“Their business is towing,” noted Lambert.

Inspections were previously handled by provincial government inspectors. Service NL Minister Dan Crummell told reporters Tuesday that those workers were paid overtime to handle the job.

Liberal MHA Tom Osborne had accused government of jeopardizing the parade’s existence by withdrawing the service of its inspectors.

According to Lambert, the parade was never in jeopardy. She felt there was general confusion publicly about what the floats were being inspected for.

“When it comes to these safety regulations, these are all self-imposed,” she said.

Rules and regulations require floats carrying people to have safety rails that are at least three-feet high. There are also height restrictions in place for the floats.

“We talk about not covering brake lights and proper inspections on trailers. All that sort of stuff. I think the people thought that the (government inspectors) were doing all of that, when they weren’t. We already had measures in place, and there’s already a lot of other things put on the participants. I would say we’re the most regulated and insured event in the province.”

Lambert said government employees were only inspected the towing mechanisms for floats.

“What we were looking at was safety pins, safety chains, just making sure the vehicle towing the float is of proper capacity to be able to do so.”

Lambert has noted the inspections were not mandatory.

“We could easily have the parade without doing this, but we, as the largest annual event in the province, hold ourselves to a higher standard. So there’s no way we were going to let our standards slip because of the bump in the road with highway enforcement.”

There were no parade participants that discussed with her the possibility of not taking part this year.

“The only time we heard from anyone is when they said, ‘What foolishness is this?’ We have a lot of people that return over and over again — certain groups with floats every single year. They’re very aware of our safety precautions.”

The parade is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. next Sunday. A food drive for the Community Food Sharing Association will commence 15 minutes prior to the parade.

 

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

•••

(Earlier story)

Organizers with the Downtown St. John's Christmas Parade are relieved to have a volunteer inspector in place as the Nov. 24 event draws nearer.

Gaylynne Lambert from the Downtown Development Commission said Islander RV has volunteered to inspect latches on floats participating in the annual parade.

That task was previously handled by provincial government inspectors. Service NL Minister Dan Crummell told reporters Tuesday that those workers were paid overtime to handle the job.

Liberal MHA Tom Osborne had accused government of jeopardizing the parade’s existence by withdrawing the service of its inspectors.

Speaking with The Telegram Saturday morning, Lambert said there were no parade participants that discussed with her the possibility of not taking part this year. Lambert has noted the inspections were not mandatory.

The parade is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. next Sunday. A food drive for the Community Food Sharing Association will commence 15 minutes prior to the parade.

For more on this story, check back later at thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Downtown Development Commission, Community Food Sharing Association

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  • wavy
    November 16, 2013 - 12:28

    Right. "Volunteer"; the socially lauded word for "free labour". But enjoy your new blue office windows, Danny.