A shortage of police volunteers could force organizers of Thunder Bay's Santa Claus Parade to make some changes this year — including a shorter route.
With less than a month to go, the organizers of the Santa Claus Parade are still scrambling to get the details sorted. About 30 provincial police and city police officers typically volunteer their time to direct traffic and cordon off the parade route — a mandatory safety requirement of the police and the city of Thunder Bay. A lack of volunteers is holding up the parade permit.
A spokesperson with the Lakehead Rotary Club, which helps marshal the parade, said the dearth of helpers will force organizers to come up with alternate plans, such as decreasing the length of the parade course.
"By shortening [the route], you're putting more pressure on a smaller area," said Volker Kromm. "And that requires lots of conversation … [about] what the impact of that is."
Safety a priority
Kromm noted that, with more development taking place along the parade route, additional officers are needed. Numerous changes in the past decade to the Intercity/Memorial Avenue area have meant more businesses popping up, more traffic and more congestion in the popular shopping district.
"To get approval [for a city permit], we've brought this forward, and we're trying to come with an equitable solution on how to deal with that."
Kromm said safety needs to be a priority for the 30,000 people who watch the parade every year.
He said he hopes the city, the police and the Rotary Club can all come to an agreement, to make sure Santa finds his way down Memorial Avenue next month — as he has for the last 27 years.
The parade date is set for Saturday, Nov. 17.