Nfld. & Labrador

Kid-friendly New Year's Eve planned for George Street in 2018

City council has approved family-friendly New Year's Eve party on George Street, but it won't happen until a year from now.

Part of a push to make George Street a more family-friendly destination

Jonathan Galgay, executive director of the George Street Association, says the group is trying to help shift George Street's reputation from an adult-oriented destination to one more friendly for families. (mapio.net/CBC)

St. John's City Council has approved a plan for a family-friendly New Year's Eve party on George Street, but it won't actually happen until a year from now.

The George Street Association's plan includes a pyrotechnic display on the street for New Year's Eve 2018.

Jonathan Galgay, recently appointed executive director, says it is all part of a vision to make the downtown street – known for its many bars and nightclubs – a destination for people of all ages for certain events. 

"We envision an event on our street where you can step out of an establishment, come out and maybe listen to some entertainment, look at some pyrotechnics or fireworks and then be able to go back and enjoy the rest of your evening," Galgay told the St. John's Morning Show.

"Our vision is to promote George Street and the downtown region as a destination. Not just only for adults, but for families as well."

To change the area's reputation from adult-friendly to family-friendly, Galgay says it will require a re-branding effort which is already taking place given the many daytime restaurants and shops around George Street.

Pyrotechnics display

The plan for New Years Eve 2018 will include a pyrotechnics display set up at the top of the stairs on George Street, directly across from the outdoor performance stage. That display could include self-contained effects such as flares, explosions and lights, but does not include aerial fireworks.

The green box shows the planned location for the pyrotechnics display for the proposed 2018 event. The site will be at the top of the George Street stairs across from the outdoor performance stage. (City of St. John's)

Galgay, who previously served as Ward 2 councillor, said fireworks are something that could be considered for future years, but for now the pyrotechnics were a good starting point.

For those with concerns that setting off fireworks or pyrotechnics near dense downtown buildings is unsafe, he said the current plan had to be approved by St. John's Regional Fire Department as part of the application process.

During the recent Canada 150 celebrations near St. John's City Hall, similar pyrotechnics were allowed, so George Street should be equally considered as a viable site, argued Galgay.

"We have to be open minded," he said.

"People have to remove the blinders and say 'Just because it's George Street, it shouldn't be treated different than any other application in the city.'"

With files from St. John's Morning Show

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