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Changes coming to next year’s Pioneer Days

Posted on July 24, 2014 by Taber Times

Hot on the heels of this year’s Pioneer Days, there could be some changes to next year’s celebrations.

That was the message from Barnwell council following their regular meeting on July 17. Council discussed several issues which had come up in the planning of this year’s festivities, including insurance issues with air-filled bouncy castles, and with large scale potluck events.

“We’ve had issues with our insurance company about the bouncy house,” said chief administrative officer Wendy Bateman. “They consider bouncy houses to be a really big liability, so they don’t cover it on our insurance policy.”

Bateman indicated she was informed that additional insurance might be needed for the device in the event someone was hurt and tried to place the blame on the village.

“They said it could cost $12,000,” she said.

During the meeting, Bateman said she was still waiting to hear from the insurance company about the issue.

Mayor Robin Hansen replied it was his view that if no word was forthcoming by the weekend, they should move ahead with whatever requirements were necessary and revisit the issue for next year.

“If you’ve already got it booked and done, we do it this year,” he said. “If it costs us that much, then we might make a change for next year.”

Bateman said it would be a good idea to have as much supervision as possible to ensure there are as few issues as possible.

“We can make sure we put the same-age kids together and try to minimize the chance of anything happening,” she said.

Coun. Darrell Turner said there have been instances in the past where the castles blew away in strong winds, sometimes injuring children. Children have also been injured falling out of the castles or on top of one another. Media sources have indicated that in the U.S., there are an average of 31 children per day hospitalized from injuries received in inflatable castles.

“(Insurance companies) realize they are a huge liability,” Turner said.

Hansen also brought up an issue with potluck meals which the village has been made aware of, and which will have to change for next year.

Council was informed by administration that by advertising a meal as a public event, potluck-type meals were not permitted, as there’s no way of ensuring health and safety regulations have been met in regards to handling or preparing the food.

Hansen said meals prepared on site, such as pancake breakfasts, are completely acceptable in certified kitchens or preparation stations. Commercially-prepared food purchased for an event would also be acceptable.

“If it’s all cooked there, and the kitchen is certified, then we’re fine,” he said. “But if you bring a salad, we don’t know if it’s been sitting in your car, or whatever.”

‘We would just have to do something different for next year,” he added.

Chief administrative officer said a nominal fee could be charged in order to offset the costs involved with the meal in place of participants supplying their own food.

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