District forfeits a $4,000 federal grant

Could not stage a community fireworks display


The District of Houston has had to forfeit a $4,000 federal grant this year because it could not stage a community fireworks display as planned.

A first attempt for Canada Day, the traditional day for fireworks in the community, was cancelled because of heightened restrictions due to extremely dry weather.

A second attempt, this time for the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend, was also cancelled because while some BC Wildfire Service restrictions were lifted, they did not extend at that time to the holding of a fireworks display.

With the two cancellations and despite one extension given by federal officials, the grant from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage had to be forfeited, said Cassie Ofner, the District’s leisure services director.

“An extension was unfortunately not possible for the grant funding,” she said.

As it is, the District did get one extension to Sept. 6 by which time the grant had to be used.

A District budgetary allocation of $10,000 for the display remains intact and can be used next year.

“At the November 3, 2020 council meeting, council authorized the funding increase of $10,000 for special events and fireworks, so thankfully we will have access to these funds next year, where we hope to be in a different situation than this past summer and be able to put on an amazing show for our residents,” said Ofner.

The 20-minute display had been planned at Four Seasons Park for 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 4, the Saturday of the Labour Day longweekend.

A fireworks display would have been the first significant community event hosted by the District since the onset of the pandemic.