September 15, 2017 5:58 pm

CAO releases scathing report on Canada 150 celebration in Bath

Tall Ships from all over North America sailed into the Village of Bath as part of Canada 150 celebrations this summer. But now, senior staff with Loyalist Township are slamming the way the July even was held. As Morganne Campbell reports, organizers don't understand why they're getting a bad rap.

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The Bath Tall Ships festival attracted more than 35,000 people in July and organizers claim the Canada 150 celebration brought about $4 million in revenue across the region.

“We had everything imaginable, of course, we could improve. But we went out of our way to make sure everything was in place before the event,” said organizer Kelley Hineman.

READ MORE: The Tall Ships Regatta

Not so, according to Loyalist Township’s CAO, who has just released a scathing report into how the event was run.

The report included a laundry-list of problems and safety concerns. Everything from not having enough volunteers to control the massive crowds and traffic to a shortage of portable toilets. But perhaps the biggest concern, from staff’s point of view, was the proximity of tall ships and pleasure boats to the township’s main water intake pipe, raising the possibility of contamination with fuel nearby.

“The location chosen to hold this event unnecessarily placed the drinking water supply for this community at risk,” wrote Loyalist Township CAO Brad Maddocks in the report.

Photo from CAO Brad Maddocks Staff Report

Loyalist Township

But the organizers take issue with how the report was written, claiming that much of the 10-page report is false.

“We didn’t see a lot of facts. We saw a lot of opinion,” said Hineman. “We had 40 volunteers like I just said, and OPP and Commissionaires. It said we didn’t have shuttle buses, yes we did have shuttle buses.”

Photo from CAO Brad Maddocks Staff Report

Loyalist Township

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The staff report also noted that St. John’s ambulance was not on hand. However, organizers say the First Aid group was contacted but couldn’t attend because of staffing issues.

“But their own Loyalist Fire Department took over in their place which they forgot to mention in their report,” said Hineman.

Emergency services administered First Aid on at least seven occasions and responded to a capsized boat.CKWS News made several attempts to contact Township CAO Brad Maddocks, who authored the report, and the councilor for Bath for comment. Our calls were not returned.

CKWS News made several attempts to contact Maddocks, who authored the report, and the councilor for Bath for comment. Our calls were not returned.

While organizers are busy defending their handling of the Canada 150 celebration, Township councillors are being asked to create a Special Events bylaw to better manage similar events in the future.

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