A fall fair planned for Saskatoon Island Provincial Park this Sunday can’t take place because Alberta Parks doesn’t have enough staff to host the event, a spokesman said. Alberta Parks had planned the first annual Saskatoon Island Fall Fair, but it was called off about a month ago because staff had thinned out to the point where it was no longer feasible to put the event on, said Cal McLeod, with Alberta Parks. “What happened over the summer months was we had a number of staff taking leaves of absences or moving on to other park positions in southern Alberta, so we weren’t confident we’d be able to carry out and successfully deliver the event this fall,” he said. Among the absentees was the person leading the organization of the fair, who took an early maternity leave. Members of several groups had shown “a fair amount of interest” in volunteering to help with the event, namely the Friends of Saskatoon Island, the Saskatoon Lake Community Club and a local naturalists society, McLeod said. Government staff members had also volunteered. However, McLeod said they couldn’t make use of the volunteers without having Alberta Parks staff to direct them. “Within the government, when volunteers are hired they’re treated the same as staff, and it relates to Occupational Health and Safety requirements, assigning job tasks and what not. And we didn’t feel we had the people around and the ability to mobilize the volunteers.” Private groups could organize a fair in the park themselves, but they would need a special events permit.
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