Another busy summer of events are lining up for Qualicum Beach with council approving several at their Monday meeting.
Council dealt with requests to hold the Western Canada Wilderness Committee’s Earth Day celebration, Quality Food’s Festival of Lights fireworks show (May 30), Seaside Cruisers’ Father’s Day Show and Shine (June 21), St. Mark’s Fair (July 25) and the Qualicum Beach Downtown Business Association’s Thursday evening summer street market through July and August.
Council passed the requests of most without comment, but a request by St. Mark’s Fair organizers for the town to provide porta-potties and a shuttle started a debate over the cost to the town.
The formal request didn’t include the porta-potties, added by Coun. Barry Avis after a discussion with the president, he said, but did also request closure of Veterans Way, town barricades, garbage cans, collection and four town employees for four hours.
“Events cost the town $150,000 a year and now we’re proposing to add staff time to special events,” said Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer, suggesting council was going to have to start saying no to some requests.
“We’re going to have to decide if we’re going to provide staff to some events, we’re going to have to provide them to all,” he said, listing off some of the many big events in town through the summer. “The commitment here is well and above what the town should be doing and I can’t support it.”
He argued that the increasing costs are being paid for by taxpayers, which council has to consider. Avis countered that the events are a vital part of the town’s economy, bringing in many visitors.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek spoke in favour, adding the current request was in fact scaled back slightly from what the previous council had provided.
Council agreed to provide the requests including the porta-potties and to investigate the shuttle service, with Luchtmeijer voting against.
They also granted permission for the other events listed above. Watch The NEWS for more on those closer to the dates.