Some New Waterford residents aren’t happy about the cancellation of the annual Coal Dust Days parade, but they’re also understanding.
Debbie Ross of New Waterford says it’s sad, especially since she and her friends wanted to attend.
“They were coming home from away and wanted to see the parade, but they changed their plans,” she said. “I understand the little girl in Yarmouth might have had something to do with it, so maybe there’s not enough safety and they don’t want to risk something happening.”
Due to new Cape Breton Regional Municipality rules regarding public parade safety, the parade which was scheduled for July 14, will have to wait for next year. The municipality made changes to parade safety regulations last year, following the death of a four-year-old girl during a Christmas parade in Yarmouth.
Amy Walzak, an organizer for Coal Dust Days, said they didn’t have time to account for the new regulations.
“We were unaware of the changed regulations for parade safety, and with it being last minute we didn’t have enough time to do public outreach,” she said. “I wouldn’t say it was anyone’s fault, but it was an unfortunate turn of events.”
Making sure participants and parade watchers are safe is priority, she said.
“Safety is the most important thing, we want everyone attending to be safe.”
The announcement of the cancellation on Friday was followed up with a social media post where organizers expressed appreciation for support and said they’re working on making next year’s parade even better.
“We’ve had an outpouring of volunteer requests, so right now we’re looking to make next year's parade the best it can be.”
The cancellation will not affect any other activities for Coal Dust Days. Participants will still be able to enjoy the planned activities, including art shows and sales, barbecues, a teddy bear picnic, an antique car show, live music and more.