Reacting to concerns from a Linwood-area riding academy, Wellesley council decided this week to move the location of a fireworks show planned for December 11.
In a special session Monday night, councillors opted to change the venue to Jones Feed Mill rather than the Linwood Community Centre after the neighbouring Robinson Riding Academy raised concerns about the impact of loud noise on its 35 horses.
Mayor Joe Nowak said council moved quickly to address the concerns raised by the Robinsons, who had started a petition in response to the planned display.
“We’ve been working at length over the last couple of weeks trying to address all of their concerns, and in my mind we’ve addressed all the ones that they’ve put in front of us and that was the fact that there was some fuel tanks nearby – well, that issue has been addressed, the noise level has been addressed,” said Nowak.
At the meeting this week, chief administrative officer Rik Louwagie said the feed mill gave the township permission to host the event on their property, and the technician who would be running the fireworks said the property does meet regulations.
To prevent any new concerns, he added that staff had contacted nearby property owners with livestock, including horses, with none of the neighbours expressing reservation about the show taking place at the new location.
While the fireworks show is supposed to be a drive-in format, Coun. Herb Neher asked Louwagie about concerns kids and other residents might get out of their cars, asking what the spacing would be like with regards to parking.
Louwagie said cars must be six feet apart and that there will be strict rules in place for people to not leave their cars. He says volunteers would also be on hand to remind people to not exit their vehicles.
Michaelah Robinson of the Robinson Riding Academy says she and her family are happy with this decision to move the show.
“We’re extremely grateful and relieved that it’s moved further away from our horses. We are extremely happy about that. When Jones graciously offered to host over there, we immediately said that would be wonderful if they could do that, but please check with the neighbours and any animals and any people surrounding that place and make sure that we’re not just pushing the problem over there,” said Robinson.
Moving the venue should make life much easier for her horses, she added, noting there was no sure way to ensure they’d all be safe. Given the herd mentality, if one horse was to get scared, others might follow suit.
With the location now confirmed, the township will go ahead with the fireworks display, arranged after the pandemic forced the cancellation of so many traditional Christmastime activities, on December 11.