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Whither the First of July?

The City of Cranbrook is looking for a community organization to step up and take the lead on Canada Day celebrations.
Connect Church has organized Canada Day celebrations at Moir Park with great success over the past couple of years. Now a new organizer is needed.

Trevor Crawley

The City of Cranbrook is looking for a community organization to step up and take the lead on Canada Day celebrations.

Connect Church has organized the event for the past two years, which the city calls the largest and most successful events the city has ever seen, however, the church isn’t able to do it again this year.

The issue was raised at Monday evening’s city council by Cranbrook’s CAO Wayne Staudt.

On occasion, there have been years where the City has not been able to secure a community group to run the event. During those years, previous councils  have directed staff to provide a smaller scale celebration that has included a Music in the Park event during the day at Rotary Park, followed by a standalone fireworks show at Moir Park.

Staff are prepared to host this type of event if required, however, despite the lack of a community organization to organize an event, the city is still pursuing grant funding from the provincial and federal governments.

Staff have submitted the annual funding request to Canadian Heritage - Celebrate Canada, towards a full celebration. If successful with this grant, the funds can be allocated to an organizing group if one is found.

Staudt noted that there is usually $5,000 that comes in for grant funding with an additional $2,500 that the city gives out annually.

“So there is enough money to get started, but it is not enough money to do the type of job that Connect Church and others have done in the past,” Staudt said. “You need a bit more money than that, probably double that, to do a good job.”

Getting an outside organization to run the celebration would be ideal, he continued.

“You need a lot of volunteers and you need a lot more money than $7,500. It doesn’t just happen with one week of planning; you need to start planning much in advance.”

Staudt also reaffirmed the city staff’s desire to keep the celebration at Moir Park, rather than at other locations in the past, such as the College of the Rockies track field.

“The reason we have moved it to Moir Park is because of the fireworks, primarily. It’s a safe place to do the fireworks as opposed to some of the other options we’ve used in the past. There’s facilities there, washroom facilities and the parking lot,” Staudt said.

“It’s a large enough space that you can do other things up there, so it’s not required that it be at Moir Park, but from staff’s perspective, it’s the best place that we’ve ever had.”

If it’s one thing that could raise some interest about a potential Canada Day celebration, it’s the fact that there’s almost $10,000 of unused fireworks that weren’t used last year due to a fireworks ban stemming from wildfire concerns.