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Courtenay now has a July 1st ‘commission’

Courtenay now has an official “commission” to organize the annual Canada Day celebration.

Courtenay now has an official “commission” to organize the annual Canada Day celebration.

Council approved the initial appointees at Monday night’s meeting.

For decades, the July 1 festivities have been organized by a volunteer committee of up to 31 people.

But with many of the volunteers now aging out, and the question of paying for liability insurance, council decided to create a ‘commission’ format.

Counc. Doug Hillian, who is council’s representative on the July 1 committee, said the “changes are necessitated … by an aging committee.”

The commission format will clarify exactly what the relationship is with the city, he said, adding that in the past an individual committee member has carried the event insurance costs.

The city will now be able to put the insurance costs under its own umbrella with the commission format, saving about $5,000 per year which the city reimbursed to the individual volunteer carrying that cost.

Counc. Erik Eriksson said moving to the commission format “guarantees continuity … volunteer organizations sometimes fall apart.”

Council appointed Edwin Grieve to chair the new commission. Grieve has been a long-standing volunteer with July 1st celebrations.

Vice-chair will be Brian Morissette, treasurer Penny Leslie, secretary Marian Holland, members Wendy Harris, Ken Hansen and Mike Gould.

Counc. Hillian will continue as council’s representative, joined by Scott Mossing from city hall staff.

This new commission is first tasked, after this year’s celebration, with making recommendations to council on the future structure that should be used to plan Courtenay’s Canada Day celebrations.

Urban Systems, a consulting firm that has done major work with the city in urban planning, has volunteered to do the background research into event planning used in other communities as a free contribution to the work of the commission.

Urban Systems is opening a new Courtenay office.