Peachland will still have a Remembrance Day service, but only 50 people can attend the indoor ceremony. (Unsplash)

Peachland will still have a Remembrance Day service, but only 50 people can attend the indoor ceremony. (Unsplash)

Small Remembrance Day gathering a go in Peachland

There will be a service for 50 people at the community centre

Remembrance Day is going to look different in Peachland.

There won’t be a march or anything that will encourage a group gathering to keep residents safe as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the province.

Jean Saul, the president of the Peachland branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, wrote to the district council asking for support to set up for a small ceremony at the community centre.

Usually, the Legion would have support from local youth groups to set up for the service but due to restrictions on gatherings and physical distancing requirements, Saul said they couldn’t ‘t ask many of their volunteers for support.

Previously, Remembrance Day services in Peachland have been held at the town’s community centre, with an informal outdoor gathering at the cenotaph on Beach Avenue.

Saul said that she originally wanted to try to plan an outdoor service that would allow residents to distance from each other but due to the restrictions on the number of volunteers she can work with, they decided on just an indoor service for a maximum of 50 people at the community centre.

During the Oct. 13 council meeting, Mayor Cindy Fortin said before the pandemic, the community centre was always packed full of people, with only standing room. But this year, it will be markedly different.

“It was elbow to elbow then. (This time) by the time you get the colour guard and the veterans in there, you’ll be up to 50,” she said.

Cheryl Wiebe confirmed that for this year, there won’t be a march and there won’t be a variety of performances. But because Remembrance Day is important to the community, Wiebe said they know the smaller service is not the solution.

“We know that Remembrance Day is really special in Peachland and we know 50 people in the community centre is likely not going to be enough,” she said.

“So, we have talked to the 50+ Centre and they’re willing to open the doors and set up a viewing area so staff is going to creatively come up with a way, probably host a Zoom meeting and video the ceremony and play it over at the 50+ Centre.”

Apart from setting up chairs for 50 people at the community centre, district staff will also set up chairs, as well as a screen to be able to livestream the ceremony at the 50+ Centre.

The district council fully supported the request.

READ: Central Okanagan Legions feel the pandemic pressure

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Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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