Eganville – Canada Day is happening in Bonnechere Valley and Mayor Jennifer Murphy could not be more thrilled.
“Last year we were the only municipality in Ontario which did fireworks as far as I know,” she told the Leader. “There were fireworks shot off in other places but they weren’t municipal fireworks.”
The Canada Day festivities will be limited to fireworks because this is something which can be done safely with physical distancing measures in place. Although the event is still a few weeks away, it was important to make a decision on this and order the fireworks, she said.
“We are encouraging people to watch virtually or physically distanced in Eganville,” she said. “People can watch from their home or their car.
“ truly believe people need something like this for some sense of normalcy,” the mayor said.
Mayor Murphy introduced the idea of Canada Day at a committee meeting of council last Tuesday and said it would be possible to have the event safely with people distancing like they did last year.
“I think people can distance at the beach,” she said, adding they can also sit in vehicles at various locations in the village.
“I am not recommending we close the bridge,” she said. “That caused a lot of extra work last year.”
All members of council were in favour of the Canada Day fireworks happening this year.
“Canada Day is Canada Day,” Councillor Tim Schison said.
CAO Annette Gilchrist said there will be lots of messaging about physical distancing and following protocols. She also asked if council wanted to hire a company to do a virtual streaming of the fireworks show. While the township has some capabilities to do a streaming, it would be a better production if it were done professionally, she said.
Coun. Schison said he hopes there will be greater opening by July 1.
“I hope we go in the upward trend of what is happening in the rest of the world and we are able to watch fireworks safely,” he said.
Councillor Brent Patrick said he was in favour of the fireworks.
“I know there are people looking forward to watching in their cars or online,” he said.
There is also room for people to distance in the park to watch the fireworks, he added.
Councillor Jack Roesner said hiring a professional company to do the virtual streaming makes sense. “If we are spending the money to do the fireworks it is a shame to task Annette to do it online,” he said.
“It’s not going to break the bank to do it properly,” Councillor Merv Buckwald said.
Fire Chief Dave Murphy said his firefighters are ready to put on a great fireworks show.
“The guys are raring to go,” he said.
Coun. Schison said the fireworks show last year was amazing.
“The plan will be for it to be better,” Chief Murphy said, adding there will be more electronics and more fireworks.
Coun. Schison said being a leader in the Valley with a great fireworks show is something to aspire to.
“It is a good trend to start for all of Renfrew County,” he said. “It is up to us to set the bar here. Last year, it’s going to take a pretty good show to outdo BV.”
While the show is planned for Canada Day, there will be a rain date if needed. Mayor Murphy said one year it was necessary to change the date because of extreme windy conditions.
In an update to the Leader this week, Chief Murphy said the fireworks are ordered. He promised it will be a fabulous fireworks show.
“Bigger and better than last year,” he said. “It should be a good show.”
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader