ARICHAT: The transportation department said it is unable to temporarily close roads adjacent to local Remembrance Day ceremonies.
During its committee-of-the-whole session on Jan. 11 in Arichat, council was told by Chief Administrative Officer Don Marchand that he received a reply from the DTIR.
At the regular monthly meeting on November 23, district 1 councillor Shawn Samson said he attended the ceremony at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 150 in Arichat on Nov. 11 and while it was taking place, ATV riders passed behind the cenotaph, while vehicles travelling along Veterans Memorial Drive drove by playing loud music.
In year’s past, cars lined up on both sides of the road near the legion provided a warning for motorists, but because of public health restrictions this year, there were very few parked cars and no warning for drivers, Samson noted.
Samson said he discussed with legion members the possibility of closing both ends of Veteran’s Memorial Drive during the ceremony. The district 1 councillor said Off-Highway Vehicle drivers will also have to be made aware since there is a four-wheeler path which runs behind the legion.
Warden Amanda Mombourquette noted that noise from passing vehicles also impacted the Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph in St. Peter’s.
After Marchand pointed out that the DTIR would be the ones to contact, council approved a motion to have staff investigate the possibility of closing the roads during Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Then during the regular monthly meeting on Dec. 21 in Arichat, public works director Chris Boudreau relayed correspondence he received from the DTIR.
The DTIR asked if council’s concerns centred on specific locations, and if the closure requests are for the entire ceremony, or just during the Moment of Silence. The last question was whether any part of the ceremony is held in the roadway.
Samson said the ceremony at the cenotaph for Royal Canadian Branch 150 in Arichat lasts only 30 minutes and no parts of the ceremony are held on the road.
District 3 councillor Melanie Sampson asked whether volunteer fire departments can conduct traffic control, to which the district 1 councillor replied that the Isle Madame Volunteer Fire Department said they are willing to do their part during the ceremonies.
Council agreed to respond to each of the questions from the department in writing.
“TIR has, sort of, weighed in on the request and indicated that the Remembrance Day events would not meet the policy on road closure,” Marchand told council on Jan. 11.
Samson replied there are other ways of warning motorists.
“Going forward, I can just work with our local legion members and bring awareness to the situation,” the district 1 councillor added. “Maybe just put up a few signs saying ‘Remembrance Day ceremonies taking place for the next 30 minutes.’ Put a sign on the ATV trail just to bring awareness to the ATV riders for those 30 minutes or so. That’s something I can do on my own and work with the legion members.”