Liability might ground Morrisburg rocket man

'Mad Mike' Michael Hughes with his steam propelled rocket. Hughes wants to jump the St. Lawrence River at Morrisburg on May 30, 2015. Liability issues might ground the attempt, South Dundas council heard Dec. 16, 2014. (Photo/madmikehughes.com)

MORRISBURG – Issues of liability for South Dundas may limit the township from getting involved in a daredevil jump across the St. Lawrence River.

Michael “Mad Mike” Hughes wants to use the Morrisburg waterfront for a launching pad for a steam-powered rocket in an attempt to make it across the river.

The Guinness Book of World Records attempt would be in homage of Ken Carter’s failed jump in 1976.

Economic Development Officer Nicole Sullivan told council Tuesday night, though the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce has been approached to broker the possible launch, the organizer wants the township to hold the title.

“(Our insurance company) very strongly cautioned us that we would be responsible for the event,” she said.

The cost of policing would also be a challenge as it costs $65 an hour for an officer and $25 an hour for a cruiser. Officers would be needed for four hours, Sullivan said.

The proponent is also asking to use Morrisburg Park (Legion Park near the Legion building) as a possible launch site (they also have two private land launch sites in mind) and the municipality to pick up the tab for policing as well as site cleanup.

Coun. Archie Mellan was not keen on the idea. “We’d be on the hook for a lot of money and (if it goes wrong) we look like idiots.”

Sullivan says the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation has expressly told the township is has to be the permit holder of the event.

Working on a May 30, 2015 launch deadline, other councillors wondered if another partner could step in to underwrite the event.

Council had told Sullivan to continue talks with the organizers of the jump.

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