by EVAN MATTHEWS
Though there isn’t much snow, the Valemount Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is attempting to create a winter wonderland in the form of a festival.
The reason for the festival according to Sam Travers, PAC chair, is to raise money for a brand new $150,000 playground on the elementary school grounds.
There are two playground areas in Valemount, one located at Centennial Park on 5th Avenue — more than two blocks from the elementary school — and the other located on the elementary school grounds, but it’s geared towards younger children, Travers says.
“We want kids to get off the technology and stay more on the playground, and more actively (engaged) in sports,” says Travers. “Perhaps a climbing wall or some extra-curricular activity outside, maybe they would get off the computers and be kids for that one extra year.”
Last year the Valemount PAC came up with $6,000 worth of snowshoes to encourage kids to try an outdoor activity, and promote outdoor recreation.
The PAC has applied for several grants for the new playground and they are in the process of applying to Columbia Basin Trust.
“The undertaking is so large, it’s a lot of money,” she says. “The school is in dire need of this playground.”
The tentative date for the festival is Mar. 5, says Travers, who has already spoken with both the regional district about using the arena and the Valemount Curling Club about using its building.
“We want kids to get off the technology and stay more on the playground, and more actively (engaged) in sports,” – Sam Travers, Valemount Parent Advisory Council chairperson.
Earlier this month, Valemount Curling Club President, Korie Marshall, told The Goat that the organization is looking to have other community organizations use the Curling Club for an array of purposes, such as festivals.
“Our intention is to have activities including dogsledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, on the public works area adjacent to (the arena),” said Travers at the Jan. 24 Council meeting. She noted the dogsledding would take place along the backside of John Osadchuk Park, and the minimum distance for a dogsled track is 3.5 KM.
Travers also asked about Public Works installing a man-made snow hill, so kids could toboggan, and placing banners near the ball diamond promoting local organizations.
There would also be a bonfire — pending a burn permit — and fireworks, Travers says.
PAC is proposing a $10 entry fee. People will also be able to buy food tickets for $5, which will give them access to food vendors or can be used for a silent auction.
When Councillor Sandy Salt asked about the lack of snow, and how it would impact the festival, Travers replied by saying it’s a gamble the PAC is willing to take.
“We’ve got to roll the dice,” says Travers.
“I’ve seen it snow here in June. Today we don’t have snow, maybe tomorrow we will. The worst-case scenario is alternate activities at the winter festival,” she says.
Though next year’s festival is already being planned a little earlier — in January — Mar. 5 was the only day this year that many of the organizations and companies could come together, Travers says.
Council waived the rental fee for use of the community hall and the Village tent on Mar. 5, and the proposed activities take place on Village property conditional on insurance.