Pacific Rim Whale Festival in dire need of volunteers around Tofino and Ucluelet

Society’s treasurer Marilyn McEwen fears 2018 could be event’s final year.

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival needs your help.

The volunteer board that puts the West Coast’s popular springtime event together is dwindling and, without reinforcements, board member Marilyn McEwen fears next year’s 32nd annual festival may be the last.

“I don’t want to see this festival end. It’s been going for more than 25 years but, without people putting their names forward to help on the board, it is going to end,” she said. “If people don’t come forward to join the board, this could be the last year.”

She said the Pacific Rim Whale Festival Society’s board of directors has 12 portfolios to handle, but consistently runs at half-capacity.

“There’s 12 hats that directors can wear and in the last few years we’ve only had six directors on the board,” she said. “That puts a real strain on the coordinator because any of those hats that a director’s not wearing gets put onto the coordinator.”

She said the board only has three active members currently and taking on the work of 12 is burning them out.

“The board plans the entire festival and they start in November so by the time the festival comes around in March everything is in place,” she said. “Everything needs to be planned ahead of time.”

She added putting the two-week festival together is tough work, but offers rewarding opportunities for anyone willing to put the time in.

“We want people that are willing to roll up their sleeves,” she said adding she’s hoping to see representation from both Ucluelet and Tofino as well as a more buy-in from local organizations like local Destination Marketing Organizations and chambers of commerce.

“All those entities, one-by-one, have just sort of dropped off…It would be great to have buy-in from those entities again because that really helps with licensing and making sure that everything in both towns is running the way it needs to.”

She added it would be great to see local businesses get more involved and help support the event that pours visitors into hotels, restaurants and shops during the offseason.

“Spring break does bring people here, but it’s still kind of wintery. The weather can go any which way in March so it’s not necessarily that the hotels are going to be full because it’s not high season yet,” she said adding the festival is “a way to kick off the tourist season and get people here.”

Anyone interested in getting involved can attend the Pacific Rim Whale Festival Society’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m. inside the Black Rock Resort’s Wine Cellar or reach out through the festival’s website.

McEwen said joining the board is a great way for locals to immerse themselves in their community.

“The reason I joined the board 20 years ago was because I was new to town and I thought, ‘What better way to meet people than to put my name forward for a board of directors for a festival that sounded like it would be really fun to plan?’” she said. “It’s a super festival for locals and visitors alike.”

The festival includes a variety of activities and events including the popular Chowder Chowdown competition.

Just Posted

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Ucluelet Aquarium wraps up season with release day event

Residents help release charismatic critters on Dec. 7.

Tofino shops set to sparkle during weekend’s Jingle Into Christmas celebration

“It’s like a family reunion. It’s nice to see the locals’ faces.”

Child care sector feels the squeeze in Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

There are five children for every licensed child care space in the ACRD

Surfrider Pacific Rim hopes unique wetsuit recycling program stays local to the Coast

“We really want to see someone locally or regionally take this on and use this material locally.”

VIDEO: Led by ‘Marriage Story,’ Netflix dominates Golden Globe noms

Netflix flexed its muscles across all categories, just as it is girding for battle with a host of new streaming services

320 years since the ‘Big One’ doesn’t mean it’s overdue: B.C. professor

‘It could happen today, tomorrow or 100 years from now’

Would you leave your baby alone to go to the gym? This Canadian dad did

The man identifies just as a divorced dad with a nine-month-old baby

B.C. coroner asking for help identifying man found dead in Peace region

Mounties have deemed the man’s death not suspicious and believe he died earlier this year

Lawyer competence includes knowledge of Indigenous-Crown history: B.C. law society

All practising lawyers in B.C. will be required to take a six-hour online course covering these areas

Wealth of Canadians divided along racial lines, says report on income inequality

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

Most Read