The Parksville Beach Festival Society disbursed $42,500 to other local volunteer organizations last Thursday.
“This is our favourite part of the year,” society president Cheryl Dill told the packed Parksville Civic and Technology Centre Forum where representatives of the 19 community groups who’d helped welcome 104,427 people through the gate during last summer’s Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition.
Dill thanked all the organizations, revealed next year’s Beachfest dates as July 15 to Aug. 21, thanked outgoing manager Trish Smith for her years of service and introduced Mayor Marc Lefebvre, Quality Foods’ Randy Henson and society board members, including their only honourary member Joan Lemoine, who then invited the groups up one by one to receive a cheque and briefly explain what they would do with the money.
Arrowsmith Search and Rescue, for example will put it towards expanding their search hall to accommodate their new truck. Preceptor Delta Zeta said the money would go towards their ongoing initiatives like a VIU student bursary and supporting the SOS, Salvation Army, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Milner Gardens and Cops for Cancer.
Supporting too many other good causes to mention, the other groups receiving a share were: Bowser Seniors Housing Society, Errington Therapeutic Riding Association, Forward House, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Knights of Columbus, Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation, Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers, Parksville Curling Club, Parksville Lawn Bowling Club, Parksville Lions Club, Parksville Qualicum Elks #589, Rotary Club of Parksville AM, Rotary Club of Parksville Noon Hour, Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach Sunrise, Royal Canadian Legion Bowser Ladies Auxiliary, Royal Canadian Legion Parksville Ladies Auxiliary, Xi Delta Pi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi.
Along with the sand sculpting event, the Beach Festival Society mandate is to help the community grow and spread out 25 per cent of their gate proceeds to their supporting groups, who had donated 2,500 hours of work to the event.
“Our heart is swelling with pride for all the wonderful work you do, it really is mind blowing the kind of impact you have,” Dill told the groups.
Since 1999, the society has donated more than $400,000 to non-profit organizations and projects, including construction of the park gazebo and community signs. This year they set aside $15,000 for park improvements.
Mayor Lefebvre told a story of telling the premier at the recent UBCM conference about Beachfest’s 105,000 attendees, only to have her highlight it to the entire gathering during her speech. “So maybe we got some good advertising for next summer.”
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