Big rig hill climb pitched again at Bridgewater Town Council

Decision deferred on controversial event at South Shore in Motion

Will the big rig hill climb be part of this year’s South Shore in Motion event?

Organizers Charlie Horstman and Robby Sarty made another pitch to Bridgewater Town Council April 27. A similar request was denied last year, which led to the entire event collapsing.

The hill climb is a driver skill competition, featuring two big rigs climbing an incline of a 6 per cent for 900 feet. It’s proposed to take place on Exhibition Drive between Dufferin Street and Jubilee Road, on August 9 at 1 p.m. South Shore in Motion would run from August 8-10.

Mr. Horstman told councillors he was made aware most of them had not received all information, including proof of insurance availability, the risk management plan, and other documents before they made their decision last year. He made sure to include this information in his presentation this year, to alleviate any concerns surrounding insurance issues.

South Shore in Motion’s risk management plan for this year has insurance for both the event and the Town of Bridgewater for $5 million in coverage. Ken Smith, the town’s Chief Administrative Officer, told councillors he would confirm that with the town’s insurer.

Councillor Andrew Tanner asked the organizers about the concrete barricades to secure the course. They would be placed along the route, on one side of the road at 20 foot intervals. Spectators would be behind plastic fencing 14 feet from the rear of these barricades. “Those barricades are not placed there to protect the fans from the trucks, they’re to protect the truckers from the fans. If you get 25,000 people, yes, we will need barricades to hold that,” said Mr. Horstman, noting that a similar event in St. Joseph Quebec attracted a crowd of that size. “With that many people you’re going to get somebody who wants to wander out and be a hero in front of those trucks. And we don’t want any heroes, alive or dead.”

A similar event was held in Digby last July.

“Although we can no longer be the first (in Nova Scotia), we hope that this presentation will show you it can be done safely and has the potential to grow as an attraction,” said Mr. Horstman. “If we fail then we are at fault, but if, like last year, we take many more valuable hours to try to meet these requirements only to still get rejected, we have no further interest in pursuing this event.”

Council agreed to give South Shore in Motion a decision at their next meeting May 11.

“I don’t think anyone is totally against this event, I know I’m in favour of it,” said Deputy Mayor Bill McInnis who was acting mayor at the meeting. “I haven’t had a chance to go back and review the information I’ve got on it, and I’d like to do that.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

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