Some young Scouts had a fun time paddling in a motorized canoe during the 2018 Salmon Arm Fair parade. (File photo)

Some young Scouts had a fun time paddling in a motorized canoe during the 2018 Salmon Arm Fair parade. (File photo)

Salmon Arm Santa Claus parade falls victim to pandemic

City council relegates parade to naughty list due to number of people expected to attend

Despite appreciation for the effort behind the idea, Salmon Arm Council nixed plans for a Saint Nick parade in the city.

“What mayor would vote against a Santa Claus parade? A grinch,” said Mayor Alan Harrison, referring to his difficult position before voting against the parade. He was joined by all but one of the city councillors present.

“It’s very difficult to oppose something like this.”

All except Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond voted no to plans outlined by Phil Wright and Jan Durocher of the Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association. (Coun. Sylvia Lindgren is on leave.) The association operates the 123-year-old Salmon Arm Fair, which was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prior to the vote, Wright told council’s Oct. 13 meeting that going ahead with the initiative was a bit like farm life.

“Do I cut the hay today, knowing what’s going to be coming down the road, or get it inside before it rains and let it dry. If you don’t do anything, you’re a bit damned as well.”

He said the association wanted to do something for the community “because people were saying, ‘the children’s festival is lost, Roots and Blues is lost, the fair is lost, we need something to get together.’”

Read more: In photos: Salmon Arm Fall Fair Friday and Saturday

Read more: Canada Day parade planned for Sicamous

Durocher outlined plans for the parade,which would be about 1.4 blocks shorter than the fair parade and would remain on the south side of the highway. It was scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5 from 3 to 5 p.m.

“The route is basically cookie-cutter made for a COVID event because it allows large areas of multi attendance – specifically you can car park and view without getting out of your car.”

She said people could also view from their yards as there are houses, apartments and seniors homes along the route as well as wide open spaces for pedestrian traffic.

Durocher added that there are people on board for marshalling, plus barricades used for the fair would help.

Other possible measures she outlined included hand wash stations along the chain link fence by the park areas, and requiring people, as the parade comes through its last leg in the south grounds, to wear a mask as a type of admission ticket. She said washrooms would not need to be provided.

The Sicamous Santa Claus Parade is being held on the same day, she said, so the problem Sicamous had on Canada Day with many people from Salmon Arm attending that parade would be alleviated. Like Sicamous, a maximum of 50 floats would be permitted.

Coun. Debbie Cannon said it sounded like a great plan, but washrooms could be an issue. Durocher said other parades in B.C. have had to clean washrooms every 20 minutes, which Salmon Arm could do. Cannon asked, should there be a spike in COVID numbers, would it be cancelled. Durocher said there are so many open spaces and physical distancing guidelines would be widely advertised.

Coun. Kevin Flynn said he is excited and supports the event in principle, but is struggling with how COVID-19 guidelines could be monitored and enforced. City staff said the city has the authority to block off streets, but doesn’t monitor for health guidlines – that’s the organizers’ responsibility.

Lavery said he was confident the association could do it and, hearing that the Mall at Piccadilly would work in collaboration, he said he’d support it.

Read more: Salmon Arm Council to walk the talk and join fair parade

Read more: Henry: Summer events, parades, large weddings off the table this summer

Mayor Alan Harrison asked how many people were expected, and Durocher said it is hard to say because of the wide open fields and the ability for vehicles to hold anywhere from five to seven people.

Harrison said this plan makes him very nervous.

“I think with 50 floats, you’re going to have a thousand people there, which would be hugely successful, but during COVID times, I can’t authorize 1,000 people. That’s what I think is going to happen. And it sounds like you’ve done a lot of due diligence and have thought about everything you can think of. But if a thousand people show up, there’s no way we’re going to be able to separate them… Can you convince me otherwise?”

Durocher said 1,000 people would be spread over a large area and there would be no point of convergence.

“We’re not asking them to come to a main stage, we’re not asking them to be seated in one area…”

Harrison asked how it would be different from the usual fall fair parade.

Durocher said people understand physical distancing now and would comply.

Harrison noted that the antique car shows haven’t gone, the Holiday Train isn’t going, the Remembrance Day Parade isn’t happening.

“I am not comfortable authorizing a parade at this time on city property,” he said. He added that he respects and understands what the association is trying to do, but safety must prevail.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusSalmon Arm council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

The Golden Nordic Club is working towards a COVID-safe winter ski season opening. (File photo)
Golden Nordic Ski Club working towards opening

While Dawn Mountain is provincially run and open, the chalet and Nordic Club are not as of yet

The Interact Club meets in 2019 for their annual Anti-Grinch project. This year, the club members will add the Angel Tree to their list of Christmas charitable causes. (Contributed)
Interact Club takes on Angel Tree

With changes to this year’s Anti-Grinch project, there is increased capacity for the Angel Tree

santa.
Morning Start: Santa Claus has an official pilot’s license

Your morning start for Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

(Google Maps)
Osoyoos Credit Union staff member tests positive for COVID-19

The credit union made the announcement Dec. 1

An Enderby restaurant and pub was shut down Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
North Okanagan pub reopens after COVID-19 scare

After a guest reportedly tested positive for the virus, staff test results came back negative

Alix Longland
Trauma resources ready for North Okanagan refugees

Family Resource Centre working with UBCO social work grad to reach out to local refugees

Elkhart Gas Station, located on Highway 97C about 60 kilometres west of Peachland, opened in November 2020. (Google maps)
The Okanagan Connector now has a gas station

The highway previously ran for over 117 kilometres without a place to fuel up

The Hughes’ Grinch was stolen from their front yard Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The Santa suit the Grinch is wearing is 50 years old and has sentimental value. It was once worn by April Hughes’ dad. (Hughes photo)
Grinch stolen from Penticton home is ‘irreplaceable’

The Hughes have had a Christmas display for 25 years on Grandy Avenue in Penticton

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
B.C. Mountie builds fire to warm suspect with hypothermia prior to rescue

Cpl. Phil Peters said the civilian helped police track, apprehend and eventually rescue the suspect

Most Read