UPDATE: City Defends New Santa Parade Route
Officials at Windsor City Hall are defending the change of the route for the Santa Claus parade.
The city's Events Initiative Co-ordinator, Michelle Staadegaard, says the route will remain in the central downtown core and it was created with residents and emergency personnel in mind.
The new route will start at Riverside Dr. at Janette Ave. and travel east on Riverside Dr. to Ouellette Ave. before travelling south on Ouellette to Wyandotte St.
The route for the 2019 Windsor Santa Claus Parade (Photo courtesy of santaparade.org)
Staadegaard says this new route means fewer intersections will be closed to traffic.
"With us going up the Riverside area, we're really only closing one side of the street. That really makes a huge difference when it comes to mitigating some of the traffic concerns and challenges that happen, as well as looking at some of our major areas like the tunnel and the hospital, other areas that you really want to make sure you're not having any bottlenecking," says Staadegaard.
She says the change in the route also addresses some concerns raised by police, fire and paramedics.
"The Tecumseh Rd. and Ouellette Ave. area is a really major concern when it comes to access for emergency services, and having the route last year going up near that area did pose some challenges," admits Staadegaard.
Residents line Ouellette Ave. in the rain for the 50th annual Santa Clause Parade in downtown Windsor on Saturday December 1, 2018. (Photo by AM800's Gord Bacon)
Maggie Durocher from the Windsor Parade Corporation said they only found out about the change last month, and says they were never consulted.
But Staadegaard says they did meet with the group and other officials, as they do after every major event to review any issues.
She adds this new route meets some of the goals they wanted to achieve for residents and emergency services.
"Making sure the parade route was still downtown, but making sure again the parade participants as well as the people that are going to it, have a safe and enjoyable route," says Staadegaard. "So this, this is a route that really takes those things into factor."
Staadegaard feels there will be plenty of spaces for people to watch the parade -- but Durocher has called the change "disappointing."
The previous route started on Ouellette Ave. at Giles and headed north to Pitt St.
The parade will begin at 6:30pm, instead of 6pm, on November 30.
With files from Rob Hindi and Peter Langille