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Tuesday February 7th, 2012  
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Quote of the Week
"(This procedure) has increased my quality of life so very much."
- Patricia Pichurski  


The Rum Runner Days volunteer organizing committee voted last week to recommend to Municipal Council to proceed with the 2012 festivities, with major changes to how the event is run.
The decision was made at a meeting held last Monday, January 30th, after much discussion amongst members of the eight-person committee, as well as officials from the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, Alberta and Crowsnest Pass RCMP, Crowsnest Pass Fire and Rescue, the Blairmore Lions Club and the Thunder in the Valley organizing committee.
The committee voted 6-2 to proceed with the event, despite concerns from several members regarding increased traffic, the need for increased police presence and random camping by visitors during the event.
Southern Alberta RCMP District Operations Officer
Inspector Joe McGeough informed the committee that the Municipality will need to enter into an enhanced policing agreement with the RCMP in order to provide adequate policing during the event and that if such an agreement is not met, RCMP will not provide any additional officers from Saturday night to Sunday morning during the Thunder in the Valley fireworks display, when an average additional 30,000 people flood the streets of Blairmore.
McGeough added that it will most likely be difficult to fill the 25 to 30 additional RCMP shifts required during that period, which come with an associated price tag of roughly $30,000.
“This thing is growing so big that I don’t know if we will be able to provide the members required to provide the necessary service,” said McGeough.
McGeough noted that last year, RCMP were short five people, even with members coming from as far away as Fort McMurray to police during the event.
Crowsnest Pass RCMP Sergeant Keith Bott added that traffic congestion before, during and especially after the fireworks is another major concern and that the committee should consider moving the event to a more suitable location in order to alleviate the problem.

“There are so many things that don’t seem to be taken into consideration for this event, and they seriously need to be,” said Bott.
Crowsnest Pass Fire and Rescue representatives Darryl Ferguson, Blair Painter and Dennis Backer told the committee that the rescue squad has measures in place to ensure service in the event of an emergency during and after the event, despite the increased traffic congestion.
Ferguson also noted that traffic control after the fireworks has improved in the past couple years, with traffic delays decreasing to roughly two hours from four hours.
Painter told the committee that while a different location (such as Sentinel or the Hillcrest Ball Diamonds) may solve some of the issues such as congestion, such locations would not be suitable for the amount of space needed.
Painter added that without the fireworks, attendance for the Rum Runner Days festivities would be miniscule, advising against cancelling the production.
“But we recognize that (Thunder in the Valley) has become a huge burden to the community and if the community decides it doesn’t want it, we won’t do it,” said Painter.
“But both Council and this committee have to determine if they want to have it.”Councillor Brian Gallant, who serves as a volunteer on the committee, said one of the main issues the committee must address is the issue of random camping.
“Making that happen and making sure there are people to enforce it is important,” said Gallant, adding that making all the necessary changes will not be a “slam dunk” in the first year and that it will require a period of adjustment.
Interim Manager of Enforcement Services Donna Tona said that an additional 10 to 15 Alberta Peace Officers could be brought in to enforce the random camping issue, which would cost about an additional $30,000.
Councillor Emile Saindon, committee chair, estimated that the entire Rum Runner Days weekend will come at a cost of approximately $120,000 to the Municipality.
After much discussion, the committee voted 6-2 to recommend to Council to proceed with the event.
The recommendation will be presented to Council at the meeting this Tuesday, February 7th.
See next week’s Pass Herald for more information.
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