COURTENAY, B.C- The volunteer planners for Canada Day celebrations in Courtenay are getting help from City Hall in 2018.

According to a recent report presented to Courtenay city council, planning for Canada Day in the city has usually been handled by a group of volunteers.

Until 2017, the planners were working without government or non-profit status, which was found to put them at “undue risk” due to the use of their personal names on grant applications and insurance forms.

This changed last year, when the municipal government created a commission for the event, which continued to meet after Canada Day. Members eventually decided to recommend that it would be entirely City-run, with the former volunteer committee working as advisors.

“The team was clear that they would still like to volunteer to oversee the functional areas that they have in the past,” read the staff report.

The idea was supported by every member of council.

With the change, city staff are recommending only small adjustments to the 2018 event, due in part to an impending project that will shut down the upper end of 5th Street this summer.

“Staff will work with the advisory team to develop an alternate route,” read the report.

“This leadership structure is similar to current commission approach in that the authority lies with the City; however, with staff leading the event, the advisory team may be less burdened with operational decisions and may still volunteer on event day if they choose.”

Courtenay mayor Larry Jangula was supportive of the move.

“We still very much need and require the volunteers, we’re just giving them some staff support,” said Jangula.

He also believes the City will get a better insurance rate for the event.