Kelowna Rotarians were unable to find a last-minute new location for its Festival of Lights display.
The popular Christmas attraction had been set up in Kerry Park for the past two years as part of the downtown Kelowna Christmas festivities during the month of December.
But plans to proceed again this year with the display were short circuited by the Canadian Safety Association, which found the electrical set-up for the myriad of lights and moving parts to the display didn’t meet safety standards.
The Rotarians said they were caught off-guard by the CSA ruling, while the provincial safety regulatory body said a variance to operate the display had been granted for the previous two years but that would not be the case this year without improvements the electrical set-up.
Kelowna Rotary member Andre Pare after thousands of man hours and dollars spent in attempting to upgrade the display to meet safety standards, it wasn’t enough to garner CSA approval. And efforts to relocate the display elsewhere other than public property proved to challenging to overcome.
“It has always been Rotary’s position to work within the community to improve our shared quality of life. Which includes respecting those who are responsible for making sure our communities are safe places,” said a Rotary Club news release sent out Friday morning.
“It is with sad hearts that the Rotary Clubs of Kelowna have decided to not have a Festival of Lights display this year.”
The release also indicated local Rotarians will also evaluate the costs and probability of completing the required electrical safety upgrades before making a decision to continue with the display next year.
Special thanks was also extended to Calahan Property Group, Castanet, FortisBC, Capri Hotel, Kelowna Rockets, Valley First Credit Union, KF Aerospace, Baptist Housing and Argus Properties for their support in trying to keep the lights display turned on this month.
The Festival of Lights display originally belonged to West Kelowna resident Jerry Budnick, who spent years expanding the light display at his Westside home until it became to much work for him to keep up.
The Rotary Clubs took the display off Budnick’s hands and property for free, accepting the responsibility and cost to find a new location for the display, which up until now had been at the Kelowna downtown park.