Fireworks funding for Squamish’s 2020 Canada Day uncertain

Council hesitant to pay for fireworks, which the business association says cost about $6,000 in 2019

Noting the price tag, council is wondering whether to provide funds for the fireworks portion of the annual Canada Day celebration.

“I think fireworks are nice to have, but I don’t think — in my personal opinion — it’s our job to organize this event as a city hall, and what we’re hearing from [the Downtown Business Improvement Association] is it’s not necessarily their job, either — their mandate is the downtown,” said Mayor Karen Elliott.

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The Squamish Downtown Business Improvement Association, or DBIA, is asking council to grant it money to host the event — and other celebrations — as it has every year for some time now.

The Association is asking for a total of $31,000 in cash for all its festivities, including the pumpkin patch and Santa Parade, in addition to Canada Day. It’s also requesting $13,488 in in-kind contributions.

Previously, the Canada Day fireworks were displayed in a location where downtown viewers could see them.

Last year, the association made the change of hosting the end-of-day fireworks celebration in Brennan Park, because Squamish Fire Rescue deemed that was the only safe place to do so.

However, hosting the fireworks at Brennan Park is a more costly endeavour, said Robyn Kelly, the newly minted executive director of the association.

Edward Archibald, president of the organization, said the Brennan Park festivities cost roughly $15,000 in cash. The fireworks made up about $6,000 to $7,000 of that number.

Councillors noted that hosting part of the event at Brennan Park makes the celebration more costly and wondered if the association could just keep it to downtown.

However, Archibald said that foregoing Brennan Park would mean no fireworks, and when the association previously held a Canada Day celebration without that event, there was backlash from the community.

Archibald said despite the higher cost, fireworks happened this past Canada Day because of one-time donations from sponsors.

Council asked staff to separate the Brennan Park costs from the rest of the DBIA grant request, so they could consider the matter separately at a later date.

“Right now, there’s definitely a gap, but let’s come back to it once we have those numbers split out,” Elliott said.

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