Christmas season not evident on Keremeos’ main street so far this year

Village could not coordinate Christmas street decorations in time for this year's Keremeos light up parade

Keremeos’ Christmas light up was a little less bright this year.

For the first time in as long as anyone can remember, the village’s Christmas season street decorations were not installed in time for the traditional Christmas kick off this year.

“It takes three groups coming together,” said Chief Administrative Officer Laurie Taylor on the afternoon of December 7. A permit which had to be procured from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is needed to allow Fortis to work on Seventh Avenue to set up the lights in conjunction with village staff.

“Fortis had a few emergencies and we had difficulty pinning down an installation date,” Taylor said, “staff has been working to get the three groups together for several weeks now.”

Taylor added that  it was no single group’s fault, just unfortunate circumstances this year. She said the village is still hoping to get the decorations up before Christmas.

A letter written by Similkameen Country President Joan McMurray, addressed to the village was also distributed to members of the business community just prior to light up on Friday, in which the village’s performance was questioned, further noting that the light up event involved just about every local group in the region.

“Our application (for the parade) was made November 12, McMurray wrote, “Coordination with Fortis BC for the connection by a certified journeyman, when several live in the area, cannot be an insurmountable task?”

In previous years, the village was able to get the decorations up well before light up evening. In 2010 the decorations were installed on November 29, ahead of light up, which took place in December 3 that year. Last year, the lights went up on November 22, well in advance of the December 2 light up evening.

Jeff Wiseman, Penticton area Operations Manager for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, told the Review on December 10 that the ministry was contacted by the Village of Keremeos late last week to inquire about a permit.

“We received an email from the Village of Keremeos last Thursday afternoon,” Wiseman said, “in which the village was applying for permission for their staff to perform traffic control while Fortis did the work.  We sent Keremeos the application, but have not yet received the completed form.”

An issue the village is dealing with, said CAO Taylor, that is delaying their paperwork’s return, is a requirement on the application for a specified time frame in which the work will occur.

“We are still waiting to get a date for the work,” Taylor said, noting that Fortis can only do the work when it has a bucket truck available, and it is unkown exactly when that might be.

Michael Allison, spokeperson for Fortis said that the utility company had been in contact with the village, and remained hopeful the decorations would be installed before Christmas.

“Unfortunately, the scheduling for the truck, which is needed for maintenance and routine work, resulted in it not being available.”

Allison said that Fortis and the village were routinely in contact with each other over business matters.

Acting Mayor Arlene Arlow expressed apologies on behalf of the village late Friday afternoon. She understood the disppointment felt by community members who had put a number of volunteer hours into making the annual light up event a success.

On Friday night, many residents in the village could be heard questioning the absence of what has traditionally been the most visible manifestation of Christmas spirit on Keremeos’ main street as well.

The village’s businesses have been  especially hard hit this year, as the local economy continues to struggle and retailers contend with high property taxes. Local merchants also had to cope with the loss of perennial retailer V and S Variety in the downtown core late summer.


Just Posted

Penticton athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Businesses directly impacted by Hwy. 97 closure

Members of the Penticton Wine Country Chamber of Commerce faced late deliveries. no staff, etc.

Fundraiser started for mother who had stroke while visiting Central Okanagan family

Tina Parry was visiting her daughter Rita Bruce Nanakeain and grandsons when she had a stroke

Vote for your favourite Penticton photo

Over 700 photos were submitted to the Snap Your City photo contest.

Princeton pot plant getting ready to hire

Princeton’s newest employer - which promises to be one of its biggest… Continue reading

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Okanagan College professor awarded for promoting financial literacy

Leigh Sindlinger received a Distinguished Service Award for inspiring financial literacy in youth

Poll: What do you think of Family Day weekend’s move?

Until this year, Family Day has fallen on the second Monday in February

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read