October 28 2018
A Northern Ireland council has apologised after around 8,000 people were left disappointed when it cancelled a fireworks display.
The display was due to take place at Seapark, Holywood, at 8pm on Saturday night but Ards and North Down Borough Council cancelled at the last minute.
People who attended the event expressed their frustration on social media.
One person said: “Lack of forward planning, lack of proper communication, babies and children left standing in the freezing cold. Completely unacceptable.”
Another said: “Just back from Seapark in Holywood freezing cold waiting on the fireworks display and told 2hrs later fireworks was cancelled. Very disappointed for all the wee kids who where waiting a long time on such a cold night.”
Another said on Twitter: “I came down with my 3 kids , 7,22 months 10 weeks. We had been there from 4. No communication whatsoever. No1 knew what was happening. One announcement to say it had been delayed. Then staff said it was definitely happening tonight, they just didn’t know when.”
Seapark Fireworks: With great regret we were forced to cancel tonight’s display. We worked to the last minute but were unable to make it happen. We appreciate this was very disappointing and would like to thank everyone who stuck with us while we tried to resolve the problem.
— ArdsandNorthDown (@ANDborough) October 27, 2018
In a statement, the council said it recognised “the frustration expressed” by many people on social media and apologised for a “lack of communication” regarding the cancellation.
“1. The reason for the cancellation – At Seapark, the fireworks are released from a pontoon. This was securely set up this morning. To light the fireworks a boat has to travel from the slipway to the pontoon; this takes place around 10-15 mins before the display is due to begin.
“Due to the low tide we were aware the boat would need assistance to get into the water and had a telehandler (small forklift) in place to help move the boat. Due to the ‘sludgy’ ground the telehandler’s movement was restricted and couldn’t get the boat into the water. Efforts were then made to manually push the boat into the water but this was unsuccessful. Up until the event was cancelled our staff and contractors were working to try to get the boat into the water.
“2. Announcements – Announcements regarding a delay were made on site before 8pm, at 8.10, 8.30 and 8.40. During this period we believed it would be possible to move the boat into the water and proceed with the display.
“Stewards made their best efforts to communicate the latest information to those in attendance face-to-face as they moved across the site. The site is large, however, and we know wind conditions can adversely impact on the reach of the tannoy system.
“3. Rescheduling of the fireworks – At this stage it is too early to confirm if we can reschedule the fireworks for another date.
“We would again reiterate our sincere apologies for the cancellation and thanks to all those who came out to support the event. Our staff and contractors share everyone’s disappointment that we were unable to deliver the fireworks and end what had been a very enjoyable afternoon/evening for people in the way we had intended.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital
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