Foster friends need help

Popular Easter egg hunt in Parksville may be cancelled

The Foster Park Easter Egg Hunt may be the latest victim in a trend of community events being cancelled due to lack of resources.

The Friends of Foster Park are the latest Parksville Qualicum Beach group to consider cancelling an event due to a lack of resources, in what has become a familiar pattern.

Started by local residents to help create and take care of the Parksville neighbourhood park, the small group started the annual Easter Egg Hunt in the park a dozen years ago and it has since grown into one of the region’s major holiday events.

Last week, a Friends of Foster Park member told The NEWS they may be forced to cancel this year’s event unless they get a huge surge of support and/or another bigger service group wants to step in and take it over or provide a lot of support.

The Easter Egg Hunt is just the latest in a long string of big events or organizations to face cancellation or closure, along with KidFest, the Bethlehem Walk, the Fire and Ice chili cook-off and the Canadian Cancer Society office in Qualicum Beach, among others.

Like most cancelled or threatened events in the area, organizers say they get plenty of help the day of the event, and they get a huge public turn-out, but they need more long-term support.

The issue with the egg hunt is more financial than lack of volunteers. With the growth of the event crucial issues of liability, safety, insurance and costs have complicated things to the point the little group can’t do it themselves.

It looks as if the event could be killed off by its own success as the number of families showing up in the park to search for thousands of eggs has caused concerns that require insurance beyond the organizer’s capabilities.

The Friends of Foster Park executive made a quick decision that they can’t settle the issues in time for this year’s holiday, but are still hopeful that another group may step up and help.

Otherwise, they say they will have to skip Easter in the park this year and try again next year.

The Oceanside Volunteer Association (OVA), a registered charity, acts as a sort of match maker in the area connecting over 500 volunteers with organizations and events needing help but has said that individual volunteers may be committing less time and there seems to be a constant need for more help in the community.

Those looking to help the Friends of Foster Park can call 250-240-5591.

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