Two-and-half-year-old Xander Thomas of Parksville enjoyed the festivities at the Venture Land playground at the Community Park on May 8. There were balloons

THURSDAY SPOTLIGHT: Celebrating the Lions in Parksville

The Lion Club has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars and volunteer hours to improve and maintain Parksville Community Park

Several dignitaries were on hand May 8 for a celebration at the Venture Land playground at Community Park.

Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre proclaimed May 8 Parksville Lions Club Day.

As kids played in the sun, a large crowd was on hand to mark the occasion, which acknowledged the dedication of Lions Club members over the last 30 years.

Lefebvre said the organization has made the park a world-famous destination in the heart of Parksville. Parksville Downtown Business Association president Sandy Herle presented the Lions with a cheque for $300 to go towards the ongoing maintenance of the park.

Lorrie Mohl, who grew up in Qualicum Beach, addressed the families and Lions Club volunteers who turned out for the occasion. She said she used the park as a kid when it was just some swings and a very squeaky merry-go-round.

Mohl and her family have enjoyed visiting the park over the years and said it has created many life long memories for people of all ages.

“When I first met my husband he was a single parent so we had a lot of dates at this park with a busy two year-old running us from each piece of equipment,” she said.

As a past president of the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association, Mohl said she is well aware of the many families the community attracts each year and no holiday is complete without a trip to the Lions Venture Land.

She recalled as a volunteer with Beachfest years ago, she would have to be down in the park early every morning to open and set up.

“By the time our group of volunteers would get down here, Clarence Esslinger and Lloyd Fraser would have already been tightening bolts and loose screws on the equipment and have cleaned up litter left from the day before… they were ready to go for coffee and we were just getting started.”

She said when she worked at Beach Acres a family from Hong Kong came every year and the kids who were well travelled referred to Venture Land as “The biggest park in the whole world.”

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