Lions Christmas Express Parade committee responds to negative parade route change reaction

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to the crowd (Healey file photo)

FALL RIVER: The Lions Christmas Express Parade volunteer committee has issued the following statement in response to negative comments left regarding the change of the parade route for the Dec. 1 parade in Fall River.

The statement was issued to The Laker on Nov. 4. The parade is set to run from Lockview High to the Fall River Sobeys; it has traditionally occurred from the LWF Hall to the Sobeys mall.

“We are aware some people in our communities are upset by the route change,” the statement begins. “For that, we apologize, yet please remember our top priority is safety. Please know the decision wasn’t taken lightly and we acted on what we thought was best for all involved.

“The Christmas Parade is now a Parade of Lights which poses new concerns and safety issues.”

Some of the reasons for the change include;

1) The parking lot at Lockview High School is large enough for parents to safely park and drop their children off directly near their float, rather than walking/running on main roads to find their designated spot, unlike our previous Fall River Village location.

2) The Fall River Road is a main thoroughfare, therefore having it blocked off for an hour has posed problems with both finding volunteers to block the eight side streets while the parade is en-route, as well as passengers needing to travel it.

Emergency vehicles will now be able to access the majority of the road and the off-streets. In short, years past we have blocked traffic out of Tamarac Hills, St. Andrew’s West, St Andrew’s Village and Kinloch Subdivision which poses concerns and problems with such a growing population.

3) The 3.4 km walk from the LWF Community Hall to Sobeys is very long and dark one for many, particularly children.

4) 90 per cent of spectators are situated from the Gordon R. Snow Centre to Sobeys. The change will impact some, but not the majority.

“For those it does impact, we sincerely apologize.”

5) There is ample parking at locations very close to the new parade route as well as the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.

“We hope these few reasons help explain some of the concerns when organizing a big, public event that attracts lots of excited participants and spectators.

“We truly hope you come out on Dec. 1, to join in this evening of celebration.”