The White Rock Festival of Lights society has been given the green light to bring the event back to the waterfront next Christmas season.
Monday (Jan. 25), council voted to support the event at a Category C sponsorship level, with no additional cash or in-kind support beyond what was provided in previous years. Category C sponsorship comes with in-kind-services provided by the city.
Council voted 6-1 to sponsor the event, with Coun. Erika Johanson opposed.
Prior to council discussion, city director of recreation and culture Eric Stepura spoke of the positive reception the festival received last year.
“However, there was some challenges that needed to be addressed to ensure the event was held safely and in compliance with council directors and public health orders,” he said.
The festival was close to being cancelled all together last year due to the public health restrictions put in place by the province, because the festival was considered to be an event.
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However, approximately a week before Christmas, the WRFL society received provincial approval to move forward with the festival by convincing the ministry of health that it is a display of lights, rather than an event.
“I think it has been a huge success, people have been very positive about it,” Coun. Scott Kristjanson said during the virtual council meeting.
“The results speak for themselves, I would definitely like to support this.”
Kristjanson said the only concern he had about the 2020 event waspeople gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hopefully, we won’t have to worry about that (next) January,” Kristjanson said.
Part of the reason council discussed the matter this week was that, as WRFL founder Gary Gumley told council, a deadline was quickly approaching for the organization to apply for federal money to host the event.
This year will mark the third consecutive year that the event is to be held on the White Rock waterfront.