That people should be upset over a Sicamous council decision is nothing new. But to see that frustration funnelled into an organized protest in front of town hall, complete with flags, placards and picket signs carried by participants of all ages – well, that’s something this generally quiet, little tourist community has seldom, if ever seen.
It wasn’t a tax increase, sewer issue or even mosquitoes that compelled this demonstration of dissent. No, it was a failed motion in council (determined in a three-three vote) to move Sicamous’ traditional Canada Day fireworks display back from the August long weekend to July 1st that did the trick.
To clarify, because of numerous variables last year, including widespread flooding, no drinking water and the fact areas of Sicamous were under a state of emergency, the district opted to hold the Canada Day fireworks on B.C. Day as part of a community celebration.
Some councillors may have been surprised by the public outcry their vote has sparked; however, history shows Sicamous residents care a great deal about matters relating to fireworks. And, as was made eminently clear Monday, Canada Day fireworks are not to be trifled with. They are a matter of local tradition and national pride.
There is also the question of the vote itself. At least two councillors were surprised the matter even came to a vote, as they were of the understanding that last year was a one-off based on circumstance. It was also mentioned that council minutes do not reflect any formal decision to permanently reschedule the fireworks display to the August long weekend.
To their credit, Couns. Don Richardson and Terry Rysz, who voted against fireworks being moved back to July 1st, showed up at the protest to address the crowd. Rysz was able to diplomatically diffuse the protest by assuring everyone present had been heard, and that if the vote is overturned at a future council meeting (Friday, June 7 at 4:30), Sicamous’ fireworks display would be put back where it belongs.
With “if” being the key word, it remains to be seen whether or not the protest is truly over.