The District of Sooke is moving ahead with plans for Canada Day celebrations, providing the pandemic allows a return of the popular community event.
The Sooke Lions Club, which has historically planned and hosted the Canada Day event with an honorarium from the district, has been asking whether it should begin planning for this year’s event on July 1.
At a meeting on Thursday, the club agreed to forge ahead with plans for this year’s event, said Coun. Al Beddows, a member of the Sooke Lion’s Club.
The size and scope of the event are yet to be determined, in part due to the pandemic.
A municipal staff report noted there is also uncertainty about the ability to host large outdoor community events, partly because of the risks associated with deposits and refunds involved in securing performers.
The 2020 and 2021 budgets were increased from $20,000 to $30,000 for Canada Day celebrations to include a lumberjack show, but both events were cancelled due to the pandemic.
The district spent $20,000 on the Celebrate Sooke event last September. It was evident from the attendance numbers that Sooke residents and visitors were ready to participate in outdoor community celebrations, the staff report noted. The event was held during a period of low COVID numbers. The budget for 2022 has been approved at $20,000.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said it’s important to have plans in place because volunteer-based organizations like the Sooke Lions Club need to know to plan entertainment and other aspects of the event.
She said that the Sooke Community Association needs to know if that event is on because it’s held in a popular spot for camping and other activities.
“We are supporting it now with cautious optimism as a best-case scenario, but we know things can change,” Tait said. “We hope to be able to greet everyone there and will adapt as more information becomes available.”