A municipal workers sets up some lights in Village Square in Cumberland Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Mike Chouinard

A municipal workers sets up some lights in Village Square in Cumberland Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Snowflakes left out in the cold for Island town

Holiday season tradition a no-go for Cumberland’s power poles

The Village of Cumberland is dealing with a bit of ‘humbug’ when it comes to Christmas decorations.

At the Nov. 23 meeting, council members discussed options because they cannot use the BC Hydro poles for snowflake decorations due to a change in the utility’s policy.

“I don’t think the community is aware of that, and they’re expecting our snowflakes,” Coun. Vickey Brown said. “It’s not that we don’t want to put the snowflakes up, but we’re no longer allowed and we don’t have alternative posts.”

The village is still looking at ways to generate some seasonal spirit in the community. Before council was a request from the Cumberland Business Association to encourage locals and visitors to shop in Cumberland for the holidays, though in a COVID-19-safe manner.

“We want to make sure that our sales are as high as possible and that our staff, families, and community stay safe. We need every dollar we can get in our businesses, but not at the expense of getting sick, or risking another shutdown!” the letter said.

Some of the specific points are to shop early and local, buy gift certificates and wear masks. The association is asking for measures such as raising awareness of its campaign to support businesses, some financial support for publicity and banner sponsorship for the holiday season.

Kaelin Chambers, the economic development officer for Cumberland, told council some of these things are already underway, such as flier printing. Time and costs are issues, he said, so their aim is to look at how best to support the CBA.

“We’re exploring things like a partnership, so that we don’t have to go through the whole permitting process,” he said. “We can swallow up some of the insurance requirements.”

Chambers said it now simply comes down to signing an agreement with the business association. Having one non-profit organization in the community now makes it easier over having to connect with a separate individual businesses for events or programs.

“I want to highlight how great it is to have a BA now,” he added. “We’re very much in support of this.”

As far as decorations, Brown said she understood there is a conversation around what is happening with the snowflakes and how they can be used. She wondered if there were options the community had around lighting or a banner.

RELATED STORY: Village Light-Up to replace truck parade in Cumberland

Chambers said one BA idea is to use Village Square, but there are time and budget issues around hanging lights in Village Square at this point. At well, it would require special wiring and installation work.

Mayor Leslie Baird said one idea is to talk with the arts community about using the snowflakes in other ways instead of hanging them.

“They have some wonderful ideas in how we can use these snowflakes,” she said.

Council passed a motion to reply to the CBA and have staff explore options to formalize the working relationship between the village and the association.

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