EDITORIAL: Award season in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Seems a shame there are no volunteer or citizen of the year awards in Parksville

It’s community/business award season in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

Unwilling or unable to spend taxpayers’ money on these specific events, the City of Parksville and Town of Qualicum Beach sit back and watch the respective chambers of commerce take charge of the feel-good festivities.

The city and town somehow believe spending money and/or expensive staff time for global issues is a better use of tax money. We received a news release last week telling us the City of Parksville and the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society will host a free lecture by the executive director of a not-for-profit organization that works with governments to require climate change labels on gas pumps.

Meanwhile, the Town of Qualicum Beach grapples with issues related to Syrian refugees and a host of other items beyond their juridiction and/or control.

To be fair, the town and city do put money into celebrating their volunteers. But it’s not the Oscars-like celebration these leading citizens deserve.

So, it’s left to the chambers of commerce to provide a night that makes these vital residents feel appreciated, with all the appropriate pomp and circumstance.

The Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce recently scaled back its program to concentrate exclusively on business awards. Gone are the Glassies, which had a wider mandate, and was supported to a degree by the city. The chamber is a business organization, so fair enough.

To its credit, the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce continues to carry the community award ball, including volunteer and citizen of the year, in its program.

It’s no small task for the Qualicum chamber. Encouraging nominations, putting together a committee for choosing the winners, meetings — it takes time and effort. It’s not like the chamber is flush with staff who have time for these things. Organizing the community awards dinner gala itself is another big job for the small but feisty chamber staff and a host of volunteer members.

Honouring and celebrating good citizens is important. It’s a community-building exercise — by thanking these citizens, we encourage others to volunteer and do other good works in our cities and towns.

Our congratulations are offered to all nominees in Parksville and Qualicum Beach this year and our thanks to the chambers for doing this important work.

— Editorial by John Harding