The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has given Burns Lake the green light to hold the Aboriginal Day and Canada Day parade along Hwy. 16 on June 21, 2017.
“Residents will also be able to enjoy the parade like old times along the main street in Burns Lake,” said Chantal Tom, general manager of the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation (BLNDC).
“We believe it is a great opportunity to provide the local businesses along Hwy. 16 to showcase their stories,” she continued. “As well it will also provide the employees that work in the businesses to also enjoy the parade.”
When asked if the BLNDC anticipates any traffic issues, Tom said the process to obtain the permit to hold the parade along Hwy. 16 involved providing a great amount of detail to the Ministry of Transportation with regard to plans to limit traffic flow disruption.
“As we enter into June, we will be having the detour route announced both through the local paper and on the local radio stations to forewarn those that travel along Hwy. 16,” she said.
With this year being Canada’s 150th birthday, Tom hopes the parade will be bigger than previous years and gather more community support. All six local First Nations communities, as well as Burns Lake council, will be involved in the parade.
According to Manu Madhok, assistant superintendent for School District 91 (Nechako Lakes), no classes will be cancelled in Burns Lake during the parade.
“As school calendars and hours of instruction are approved by the Ministry of Education, we do not have the authority to cancel classes,” he explained. “All of our schools recognize and plan activities for national Aboriginal Day; we recognize the importance of the day and schools support teachers and classrooms who choose to attend community events such as the parade.”
After the parade, Aboriginal Day will continue in the evening at the Burns Lake Gathering Place. The day will finish with a fireworks show.
“Aboriginal Day will be a great day filled with lots of activities and games, talent showcase and traditional food,” said Tom.
Monthly committee meetings to organize the parade and Aboriginal Day have been ongoing since January.
“As we get closer to the date, we will conduct extra meetings to complete the final plans,” said Tom.
Although Burns Lake will be combining the Aboriginal Day and Canada Day parades on June 21, a Canada Day celebration will still be held on July 1 at Spirit Square.