Faced with mounting policing costs and a diminished volunteer base, the beleaguered Sea Cavalcade Committee voted narrowly to proceed with this year’s festival in a modified form.
Saturday’s events kick off with the traditional Gibsons Mile race and the following parade (see notification of road closures on page 15) leads viewers to family events in Gibson’s Landing. Gower Point Road will be closed until 7:30pm as Winegarden and Holland Park spill live entertainment, dance demos, theatre, a street dance and more onto the pavement for all to enjoy. Events in the Landing end with the Rescue Safety Boat Exercise (the famous ‘boat blow-up’) as the Gibsons Coast Guard Auxiliary Search and Rescue Unit responds to a simulated explosion and fire onboard a vessel.
The street dance, normally held Saturday evening, has been moved to the afternoon (4 to 6:30pm) and the harbourside fireworks display that usually caps a Saturday evening of entertainment will end the festival on Sunday evening at 10pm.
With policing costs for the Saturday evening events estimated at $9,000, the Committee was faced with two choices: cancel the activities entirely, or reschedule them for a time when the ‘rowdy’ element would be less likely to disrupt the family-friendly festival. After discussions with the Town, they opted to reschedule.
The decision to move these events generated a firestorm of controversy and angry comment on local Facebook sites. Disappointed that off-Coast weekend visitors would leave Sunday afternoon before the fireworks, and not content to vent in social media, some residents called organizer Conchita Harding to complain. Harding says she has been fielding several irate calls or e-mails each day since the schedule was announced.
“We are all volunteers on the Committee,” Harding said, “and it is very hard when we give up so much of our time to organize this festival, to get angry calls from people. And when I try to explain, they don’t want to hear why we moved these events.”
Harding noted that with the festival just two weeks away, volunteers are still needed for a myriad of tasks. “Participating in the Sea Cavalcade as a volunteer adds to the fun, because you are helping others to have a good time. This is why we on the Committee volunteer year after year. But we just need a few hours of peoples’ time, so we hope they will come forward and join us,” Harding said.
A full schedule of activities and volunteer opportunities are available at the website: www.seacavalcade.ca
New shuttle links Gibsons shopping hubs
The Gibsons Chamber and the Town of Gibsons are in the driver’s seat of a new community shuttle service to carry visitors and residents between the Town’s commercial hubs of Gibsons Landing, Sunnycrest Mall and Gibsons Plaza.
On its inaugural weekend during the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival, the bus was a resounding success. Organizers received a flood of favourable comments. Weekend shuttle service will continue through to September 15, with service leaving on the hour and half hour from the wharf to the malls and recreation centre. Friday service runs from 1pm to 6pm; Saturday and Sunday service commences 10am, with the final run at 5pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. Fares are a toonie for adults, a loonie for children, and Credit Union members just show their card to ride free.
The Town of Gibsons and the Gibsons and District Chamber of Commerce took the lead in launching this pilot project, which has been identified as a priority by citizens and planners for over a decade. Getting on board, major sponsors Sunnycrest Mall, the Sunshine Coast Regional District, Community Futures and the Sunshine Coast Credit Union recognized the project’s value to the community. Additional support for the fully wheelchair accessible vehicle, provided by Sechelt School Bus, has been provided by Vital Signs, Seaweeds Health Food Store and Blackfish Pub.