Wednesday , 30 November 2022

Council to consider policy governing parade conduct, safety

Cold Lake Council will consider potential updates to a policy that would govern parades, parade floats and set boundaries on messaging and the content that can be displayed during these public events.


Up to this point, parades were governed under several policies requiring that a permit be obtained, a road closure be applied for, fire and police services be consulted with on the route, and that general information about the organization hosting the parade and the event itself be provided.


“Council noticed that our existing bylaws and policies covered the basic traffic and safety issues, but wanted to also ensure we had the opportunity to take a more complete view of the subject matter and content,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “Administration was able to point out several areas where other communities do provide guidance for parade organizers, and we will see if we want to provide similar guidance in the context of Cold Lake’s events.”


Administration noted that the current bylaws and policies do not address the types of parades that can be authorized or prohibited, the responsibilities that organizers must undertake, restrictions on content for floats or messaging, specific safety requirements, equestrian regulations, or specific regulations for marching bands or walking groups.


The draft policy, as presented to council, also contains provisions that would prohibit overtly political messages as well as statements and messages that are discriminatory, incite hatred or are unlawful. The draft policy also ensures that the parade does not interfere with public safety or the comfortable enjoyment of the community, that the event is not contrary to the policies of the City of Cold Lake, does not contain controversial content, and does not diminish the City’s reputation.


“Our intent here is to start a conversation around a potential policy to see what additional regulations could help make sure that parades are family-friendly community events that are a safe and fun experience for all,” Copeland said. “We realize that some of the proposed definitions are subject to personal interpretation and debate, but we are confident that we can establish boundaries that will reflect the spirit of what would generally be expected at a community celebration.”


Administration noted that some of the proposed regulations could be open to interpretation and, in some cases, could pose challenges for enforcement. Council also stated that it did not want to create an unnecessary bureaucracy surrounding such events that would result in extra work or fees which may dissuade community groups from joining a parade.


The draft policy was presented to council as a starting point for its conversation and will be brought forward at a future Corporate Priorities Meeting for further debate, with amendments and options that reflect the feedback council provided.



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