City to celebrate Hansen

Rick Hansen will be the focus of festivities in Vernon.

Rick Hansen will be the focus of festivities in Vernon.

City council will form a committee to organize an end-of-day event in March 2012 for a relay marking the 25th anniversary of Hansen’s Man in Motion tour.

“This was a significant event across the country and in this community,” said Coun. Patrick Nicol of Hansen going around the world and across Canada in his wheelchair to raise funds for spinal cord research.

“We remember welcoming him along 27th Street.”

The 25th anniversary relay will recreate the Canadian portion of the Man in Motion world tour. It will start Aug. 24, 2011 in Newfoundland and end in Vancouver.

Vernon has been invited to become an end-of-day community for the region.

That will require an event that will bring out the community to welcome the relay participants.

“It can be a great celebration of a significant achievement,” said Nicol.

While supportive, Con. Shawn Lee points out that last year’s Olympic torch relay took up considerable city staff time to organize.

“When we take these things on, we need to consider the budget and who is the point person,” he said, adding that perhaps a professional event co-ordinator should be hired for the Hansen relay event.

But staff doesn’t believe the project will be too onerous.

“It will depend on how big of a celebration we put on,” said Marg Bailey, manager of administration services.

The organizing committee will include Coun. Jack Gilroy as well as two representatives from the community, an RCMP officer, one city employee and a representative from the Vernon School District.

At least one of the community members will represent an association providing support for the disabled.

“This event will raise awareness for inclusiveness of people in our community,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.

Vernon Morning Star