The 10th annual Christmas on the Peninsula festival comes to White Rock’s uptown core this weekend, and organizers say they’re as fired up as ever for almost everything it has to offer – which is a lot.
“Everything is on track. I’m definitely excited,” festival president Liv Butow said Wednesday.
But the one aspect of Saturday’s schedule that has Butow concerned is changes that have had to be made to the parade route and related road closures.
City of White Rock officials say the changes – which include switching to an out-and-back route, and road closures that Butow estimates will last nearly an hour – were due to the closure of the lane that runs along the east side of Bryant Park, due to construction of the final two Miramar towers.
The lane was previously the home stretch of the parade.
With its closure, the parade – which starts at 4 p.m. – will head east on Russell Avenue from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio, then south on Johnston Road to Thrift Avenue, before making a U-turn on Johnston to retrace the route back to the dance studio.
Johnston Road will be closed between North Bluff Road and Thrift Avenue for the duration, as will Russell Avenue between George and Foster streets.
“Because the parade this year is not a circuit, a full road closure is required,” city communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi told Peace Arch News.
“Event organizers will endeavour to reopen Johnston Road as soon as the parade is completed.”
Butow does not expect the changes to impact the enjoyment of those who turn out, but she is worried about the safety of participants at the U-turn point.
“All these cars and trolleys and horses are going to turn around there,” Butow said, emphasizing she does not want to create a rift with the city over the issue.
Farrokhi said safety is the responsibility of the organizers.
Butow said she is also worried about the impact to businesses, and residents whose building access may be interrupted.
“They can’t get there for at least… 50 minutes,” she said.
She said a letter was delivered to business owners in an effort to stave off any frustration. Fortunately, everyone she spoke to was “very understanding.”
Still, she hopes a longer, more convenient route is something the city will be open to in the future.
For tomorrow’s schedule, visit christmasonthepeninsula.com