by LAURA KEIL
It’s the holiday focal point of many towns and cities – a giant Christmas Tree that lights up the central area of town.
And after many years without one, Valemount may light up again.
Residents Gord Peters and Marion Plummer asked for Village Council’s blessing to erect a large Christmas tree in Centennial Park for most of the month of December – from late-night shopping until shortly after Christmas.
Council appeared to have no qualms about public works time going into erecting and maintaining a Christmas Tree.
“I think Christmas is a big time in a small town and I really like this idea,” Counc. Hollie Blanchette said.
“I want to thank you very much for your presentation and for thinking ahead and reminding us that Christmas is just around the corner,” Mayor Jeannette Townsend said. “Mr. Simmons can discuss this with the Public Works Superintendent and the Village will get back to you.”
Counc. Sandy Salt framed her concerns in terms of how contentious the tree might be, presumably in light of Council’s recent refusal to grant permission to paint a rainbow crosswalk downtown, a contentious issue among locals.
“Just knowing that there have been other contentious issues in the community, I’m just wondering if there is any concern about any other religious beliefs that don’t honour Christmas, if there’s any concern about any offence to those groups.”
Peters says the main tree would be donated and delivered by the Valemount Community Forest. A second tree, a blue spruce already growing on site, would also be decorated and dubbed the “Tree of Remembrance;” Peters explains that the holiday can be a difficult time for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. This tree would allow people to honour those they have lost by placing a decoration on the tree in their honour and place their name on a nearby plaque.
Both Peters and Plummer say they hope to get school kids involved in the decorations. They asked the Village whether they could borrow the decorations used for the former Community Christmas Tree or purchase them from the Village.
Council told Peters and Plummer the Village would get back to them about permission and logistics once they ran it by the public works committee.
Public Works may very well be involved in the erection – and re-erection of the tree. One local remembers the reason why the tree was discontinued years ago – it kept falling over.