Summerland’s street banner program will receive public funding for the next five years.
At the municipal council meeting on March 25, council passed a resolution to allocate $15,000 a year towards the banner program for the next five years and to waive installation fees for the street banners.
Angelique Wood, community development coordinator for the municipality, said between 2014 and 2017, the project had cost the Summerland Community Arts Council between $5,000 and $7,000 a year for materials alone. The revenue generated from the project was considerably less than the costs.
“We couldn’t afford it,” said Betty-Ann Xenis, president of the arts council. “It just wasn’t a viable option for us.”
Xenis said the arts council has limited funds and while it receives some funding from the municipality, the amount is not enough to continue all the programs and services the arts council provides.
She added that the community interest in the banner program had been dropping off in recent years.
The street banner project was started in 1998 and has continued every year since that time.
Children and adults from the community were invited to create unique banners, which were then hung from light standards in the downtown area and along Lakeshore Drive during the summer and fall.
“The Arts Council is administering this program and we are thrilled that the District of Summerland is supporting it so it can happen,” Xenis said.
Wood said the banner project also required considerable time from staff and volunteers with the arts council.
Each banner required around 10 hours of work, but some of the banner painters lost interest after starting their projects.
The banners may change this year, with vinyl materials being used instead of the hand-painted cloth banners. However, Wood said street banners will continue to be painted and displayed around the community.
“The old manner of running the banner program is being revisited,” she said, “but it will still be very local, very artistic and very representative of Summerland.”
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