50th anniversary bonfire event cancelled
The Bay of Colwyn Town Council has reluctantly taken the decision to cancel this year’s bonfire and fireworks event, which was due to be held in Eirias Park on 5th November and would have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first community bonfire event in the park, held on 5th November 1970.
The event sub-committee, which includes representatives from a number of key partners, including Conwy County Borough Council officers, NW Police, NW Fire and Rescue Service, Get Set Go Events and local councillors, met last month to discuss if/how a safe event could take place. The attendance at the event for the past few years has been approximately 7,500 and group gatherings of this size are not currently permitted. To ensure safe social distancing of 2 meters between family groups, mitigate against the spread of coronavirus and adhere to the Welsh government programme of Test, Trace and Protect, the event would require a booking and ticketing system, which would not only reduce capacity, but significantly increase the costs of holding the event.
Moving the event to a different location (the beach) was also considered, but this would also have incurred additional costs due to the much greater level of security/ marshalling and the road closure that would be required. Also, the more exposed site at the beach would have resulted in a much higher risk of cancellation at late notice, due to either bad weather, or the risk of smoke from the fireworks affecting the A55.
Another factor in the decision to cancel was uncertainty over whether the ‘blue-light’ services, such as NW Fire and rescue and NW Police, would be able to provide any event support. These services are currently not able to provide any assistance for outdoor events, due to current regulations, and they play a key role in supporting the local events committee to run a safe and enjoyable event.
A decision had to be taken by the Town Council this month, as the fireworks order needed to be placed. Waiting to see if safe-distancing restrictions may be relaxed by the autumn was therefore not an option. The organising committee hopes to be back in 2021 with a bigger and better event to properly mark the anniversary in an appropriate manner.
The Town Mayor, Cllr Neil Bastow, commented “We are aware that many local families, who attend this event every year, will be disappointed, but assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly. We have a duty to consider the safety of the public when putting on events such as this and we did not feel able to go ahead without a safety plan that not only complies with government regulations, but also guarantees we would have adequate and appropriate security and safety measures in place.”
Tina Earley, Town Clerk – tel: 01492 532248