By Camille Aubin
[email protected] 

The bad news in 2020 keeps coming. Despite what some people may feel, this year will not drag on forever and will indeed eventually come to close, likely amid hopes that the next one will be a bit brighter. Just don’t expect to celebrate those hopes in the fun-loving style you may be used to marking a year’s end.

At the most recent Radium Hot Springs council meeting, held on Wednesday, Oct. 28, all councillors voted — though most expressed regret at having to do so — to cancel the village’s annual New Year celebrations this year. Fireworks, bonfires, hot chocolates, chili, hot dogs and cakes will have to wait at least until Radium ring in 2022. People will be asked to follow COVID-19 protocols and celebrate the arrival of 2021 within a smaller group. As council member mentioned during the vote, it is simply not possible to hold the normal new year celebrations since outside assemblies are currently limited to groups of 50 people, and this number must include the staff on site, who will be working during the event.

“Managing people in the dark (during a pandemic) just seems crazy,” said Radium mayor Clara Reinhardt, noting that there is no proper way to control the number of people present at the event with a reasonable amount of staff, on a vast open space and in the dark.

“After careful consideration and review of the current government of B.C. COVID-19 protocols, council has determined that we must cancel the Village New Year’s celebrations for 2020 including the fireworks display. The real pinch point was that there was no way we could keep to fewer than 50 people at any given time participating in an event created by us. We encourage families to use the sliding hill, rink and playground while maintaining good distancing and staying within your ‘bubbles’. With luck, we will be back (at the end of) 2021 bigger and better than ever,” concluded Reinhardt.

On a happier note, Radium fire chief Dave Dixon was pleased to announce that his team has grown to 20 volunteers, with new members joining the team last week. During his 2020 activity report, Dixon shared that the number of calls had drastically decreased compared with the year prior.

Dixon explained why in an email to the Pioneer, saying “the B.C. Ambulance Service, province wide, reduced the types of calls that fire department first responders (FRs) would respond to (to) just those calls that were deemed as the highest priority, simply put, life threatening conditions. That’s why our FR call volume has been reduced.”

The council meeting on Nov. 11 has been cancelled due to Remembrance Day, as well as the one on Dec. 23 for Christmas celebration. If needed, these council meetings will be rescheduled for a later date.