After hearing about the success of the last year’s scaled-down White Rock Festival of Lights event, city council has approved an expanded version of the event for this year.
During the Feb. 10 regular meeting, council approved the 2020 event subject to the White Rock Festival of Lights Society securing funding.
The operation budget for the 2020 festival is to increase to $100,000 and the project is to expand from the white rock to Oxford Street.
Last year, the event was held in Memorial Park, with an operating budget of $40,000.
City director of recreation Eric Stepura told council that if sponsorship allows, the event may be extended from East Beach to Bayview Park, located at the end of West Beach.
He said West Beach businesses indicated a “strong support” for the event, noting that they experienced a bump in sales during the inaugural event.
Councillors approved the White Rock Festival of Lights Society’s request to extend the festival from 29 days to 58 days, between Nov. 13, 2020 and Jan. 9, 2021.
A representative from the Festival of Lights said the date change is an effort to make the event more inclusive for people who celebrate Diwali festival, which happens on Nov. 14.
Council agreed to become a ‘Category C’ sponsor, meaning that it won’t provide a financial contribution but will assist with logistics and co-ordinate use of civic facilities and resources. Other events the city supports with a ‘Category C’ designation include Christmas on the Peninsula and Picnic on the Pier.