By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The Oshawa BIA has modified a request for Canada Day celebrations to be moved to downtown next year.
The downtown advocacy organization had originally asked the city to reconsider moving July 1 festivities from Lakeview Park in 2020.
The purpose of the move would be to recognize the 50th anniversary of BIAs in Ontario, and would last only one year.
The request had been directed to staff for a report by a three to two vote.
It was followed by a polarizing reaction online, with supporters and detractors making their voices heard.
At the latest community services committee meeting, a staff report noted with the request coming in September, it presented too tight of a timeline to move Canada Day.
It was also noted that 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the donation of Lakeview Park from General Motors to the City of Oshawa.
Based on these reasons, staff recommended the city should not support the move, and thanked the BIA for its request.
At the same meeting, the committee received a letter from BIA executive director Amanda MacDonald asking the request be moved from 2020 to “future year(s).”
MacDonald also asked city staff with the BIA to explore options for a future move. The BIA will be looking for other ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary in 2020. After committee supported staff’s recommendation, Ward 3 city councillor Bradley Marks noted the idea had drawn some strong emotion from the community.
“There was some animosity from those who feel that this event was being hijacked from Lakeview Park,” he said, adding he believes this was the BIA’s intention.
Ward 4 city councillor Derek Giberson said he found some of the language from those in opposition to be “somewhat disconcerting.”
Giberson hopes this will change in the future.
“We can all be involved in a dialogue, and it can be respectful from beginning to end.”
While in support of staff’s recommendation to not support the BIA’s request, Giberson noted he was surprised by the number of people who had actually spoke out in favour of it.