Funding available for Whistler block parties 

Canada's 150th sparks new initiative

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - Birthday Bash Canada's 150th birthday to be celebrated with block parties in Whistler neighbourhoods.
  • File PHOTO
  • Birthday Bash Canada's 150th birthday to be celebrated with block parties in Whistler neighbourhoods.

Time to throw a party.

The Whistler Centre for Sustainability is calling for volunteers to host five neighbourhood block parties to take place between June and September. And, thanks in part to the Community Fund for Canada's 150th, there is $500 available for equipment, supplies and food.

Dubbed the Neighbourhood Works' Block Party, which is made possible with the initiative of the Community Foundation of Whistler, the Community Fund for Canada's 150th and the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, the block parties can be hosted at private homes, public parks or local businesses. The events are expected to be family friendly and can feature entertainment, food and beverages, live music, crafts and other activities.

In addition, there is another $500 that will be awarded to one neighbourhood with a winning idea for a legacy project — something that benefits or involves the neighbourhood, such as a shared toy box, building bird or bat houses, or an environmental-restoration project.

The Centre's Dan Wilson, who looks after planning and engagement, said block parties a few years ago were successful and the funding available for this year sparked interest in community involvement.

"We ran something similar a couple of years ago — it's building social connections, and after the Community Foundation of Whistler released its Vital Signs report, a big part of that was a (reported) sense of belonging and neighbourhoods," he said.

"And so building off that, they encouraged us to put together some applications to support neighbourhood block parties."

The funding can be put toward all sorts of different things, such as equipment rentals, activities, supplies and food and drink.

Wilson said organizers of previous block parties brought face painters, and balloon twisters to entertain kids, and the parties proved popular with about 40 to 60 people getting involved.

"It's really meant to be a catalyst to spur those community neighbourhood champions to put together an event," he said.

Nicole Nauss, who is handling applications for the events, said approval likely would be granted on a first come, first served basis.

"If there are a couple of people willing to spearhead the party who have a little bit of event experience and a lot of enthusiasm, then they might just get the party right away," she said.

Even if some organizers aren't granted party status, Wilson said the crowdfunding option on the Wayblaze.com website allows neighbours to move ahead with new ideas.

"They can push it to the crowdfunding part of the site and get people in that neighbourhood to pitch in a bit of money to make it happen," she said. "So if we get a lot of ideas and a lot of enthusiasm, we'd love to have the funding go forward as well."

To apply to host a party, email nnauss@whistlercentre.ca.

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