The Festival of Lights; Jingle Bell White Rock; and the Lighted Boat Parade all helped light up the White Rock waterfront on Saturday, Dec. 7. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Festival of Lights to return to White Rock waterfront

Event to run from Nov. 28 to Jan. 9

The pandemic caused most residents to wipe their dry-erase calendars clean, and even though Christmas celebrations might be scaled back this year, the City of White Rock Festival of Lights will be anything but.

Last February, the City of White Rock approved a scaled-up version of the Festival of Lights for 2020. Council made the decision Feb. 10, weeks before a global pandemic put a damper on annual celebrations.

However, City of White Rock recreation and culture manager Eric Stepura gave a presentation to council Oct. 19 that confirmed the show is to go on.

The event is to be expanded this year not only in size, but the number of days it will be open to the public.

This year, the event will extend from the white rock to Oxford Street and run from Nov. 28 to Jan. 9. Last year, the event was centralized in Memorial Park and ran for 29 days.

Stepura told council that event organizers are to work with city staff to develop a COVID-19 safety plan. He noted that the city has experience developing similar plans for city recreation centres and arenas.

As expanded as it might be, the Festival of Lights will not have all of the bells and whistles as it did last year.

During last year’s Festival of Lights, the city held a ‘Jingle Bell White Rock’ family event and encouraged people to visit the waterfront for a ceremonial lighting of the lights. That won’t be taking place this year, nor will any type of additional entertainment be provided by the city.

“This is an event where people are to come through the park, stroll around, but no way are we looking at setting up any attractions which would encourage people to gather,” Stepura told council.

This year’s event is to feature three 30-foot tall trees, one in Memorial Park, one near Oxford and one at East Beach.

Councillors seemed content with the plan, but took issue with a proposal from organizers to forfeit two disability parking spaces near Marine Drive and Findlay Street to accommodate a 30-foot tall artificial tree.

After debate about whether the city should create two new temporary parking spots to offset the loss, or to deny the parking-related request all together, councillors voted for the latter.

“I think we have to recognize at every turn that we want to make sure everybody has an opportunity to get down there, enjoy the waterfront whether they want to go to Memorial Park for the Festival of Lights or not,” Mayor Darryl Walker said to council.

The event was approved by council earlier this year as a “Category C” event, meaning the city is a sponsor, not a producer of the event.

Stepura told council that the city’s contribution equals just shy of $9,000 of in-kind support.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)
Surrey mayor taking it on the chin during budget public hearing

So far, he’s cut five callers off during Monday’s virtual meeting

The entrance at Fleetwood Villa in Surrey. (Photo: dignified.ca)
Fleetwood Villa resident tests positive for COVID-19, leading to ‘outbreak’ at facility

Fraser Health says it’s ‘critically important’ for people in the region to use COVID-19 assessment tool

A Surrey protest now in week 12 against a local resident has frayed the nerves of neighbours fed-up with the group’s presence. (Submitted photo)
Surrey neighbourhood fed-up with strange protest

Surrey Mounties say they’re monitoring the situation

Bhupinder Hundal. (submitted photo)
Surrey’s Bhupinder Hundal hired as news director of B.C. broadcaster

Grad of Princess Margaret Secondary now managing Global station

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
12 Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures overnight, 8 over the weekend

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (Black Press Media files)
Judge hears Langley development case that could end in mayor, councillors booted out of council

The conflict of interest case was launched by local voters a year ago

Most Read