Ucluelet officials took a walk to find clarity on a controversial move.
The district is stepping towards a final decision on whether to move the annual Ukee Days festivities from its traditional Seaplane Base Field fairgrounds to a new location at Tugwell Fields.
Goers to this year’s festival in July were surprised to see a sign posted at the event that stated next year’s event would be held at Tugwell Fields and this surprise quickly evolved into outcry.
A Facebook page sprung up titled ‘Save Ukee Days at Seaplane Base Rd.’ and locals have spoken at recent council meetings clamouring for the decision to be reversed.
Key concerns include Tugwell’s lack of parking, the impact festival noise will have on Tugwell’s neighboring residents and the idea of nixing tradition.
Public outcry has hit a high enough volume for the district to reassess the move and council planned to walk through Tugwell earlier this month to reexamine the decision.
“The purpose of the tour is to actually be on the ground and look at what people are talking about and are concerned about; the things that they’ve put forward such as parking,” Ucluelet mayor Dianne St. Jacques told the Westerly News.
“And then have a look at the [Seaplane Base] site, do some comparisons and come up with a decision that has good reasoning behind it.”
She said the walk would help councilors make an informed decision.
“It’s always easier, I think, when you walk around and are actually on-site looking at these things,” she said.
“It is in the Parks and Rec. plan that this move would be seriously looked at and considered so we’re doing that and looking at what the opportunities are and what the downsides might be.”
She said there is no timeline for a final decision to be made but she hopes to see council reach a consensus in short order.
“We want to make a decision as soon as possible,” she said. “The outside deadline would be the end of January.”