Vimy volunteers pay back Parksville council with visit

Ballenas field trip group shares tour highlights during council presentation

When Parksville city council agreed earlier this year to chip in some funding for a Ballenas Secondary School trip to France for the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Mayor Marc Lefebvre said he expected to hear back from the students about their experiences.

During the most recent council meeting, the Ballenas delegation paid back that debt.

“It was incredibly moving,” said one of the two Grade 11 students who joined teacher — and former Vimy Ridge guide — Scott Preston in a delegation before council on May 15.

The 17-day excursion, Preston said, included stays in London, in Paris and in the coastal region of Normandy, where the students supplemented their First World War commemoration at Vimy with a visit to the Juno Beach site where Canadian troops landed in the Second World War.

During the Vimy Ridge commemoration, the Ballenas delegation served as volunteers for an event that drew about 25,000 people over the course of the day on April 9.

“It must be awesome to see the grave markers of the young Canadians who died there,” Lefebvre told the group. “I felt a sense of connection, knowing you were there.”

Survey deadline Friday

The city’s parks survey will wrap up Friday, May 26, and Lefebvre urged the public to contribute its views toward the city’s master parks plan development, which will continue throughout the summer.

Students from Vancouver Island University’s masters in public planning program, who have contracted with the city to provide consultation for the plan, will be at Community Park on June 8 to share feedback.

The survey can be accessed on the home page of the city’s website at

City ranks No. 2

Mayor Lefebvre announced that the Canadian Federation of Business has ranked the City of Parksville second among municipalities in its ability to control spending.

The city improved from a sixth-place ranking the year before, “which shows we’re on the right track,” said Lefebvre.

Rainbow crosswalk OK’d

Councillors approved a request by Coun. Mary Beil for a motion of support for the painting of a rainbow crosswalk in support of the school’s LGBTQ association. The painting would be done on one of the crosswalks on Pym Street, in front of Ballenas Secondary School. The motion comes with a pledge to help fund the project from the city’s contingency budget.

“I did a little follow-up and spoke with one of the vice principals,” said Beil. “It is a sanctioned group at the school, and I assume it won’t be too costly.”

Beil added Ballenas will hold its first Pride Awareness Month in June, to encourage a safe and welcoming community for all students at the school.