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 gallery searching for young budding artists

A Penticton gallery is putting a call out for young artists for their next exhibition

A campaign encourages families to put down their phones and talk this Mother’s Day

OpenTable’s #DiningMode gets Okanagan restaurants on board with a no phone policy while dining

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

Olympian Andi Naude retires from freestyle skiing

Penticton native skied in 62 World Cup single and dual moguls events in her career

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Okanagan physician and family reflect passion for medicine with hospital gift

Dr. Paul Cobbin and family donate to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign

Two in critical condition, several still in hospital after Langley deck collapse

Close relative Satwant Garcha makes daily trips to visit those injured at the wedding

Kelowna man speaks up for limb loss awareness after losing leg

Ralph Zaiser is getting used to life as a recent amputee

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after 3 paramedics attacked at Kamloops hospital

Paramedics had transported the man to Royal Inlands Hospital for medical treatment

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

Most Read