The new B.C. government has indicated that it might consider consolidating the B.C. Family Day in February with the Alberta Family Day the following weekend. Currently, the B.C. holiday is scheduled for the second Monday in February and the Alberta holiday, the third.
One organization very much against the move to unite Family Days is the Canada West Ski Areas Association. The CWSAA is a not-for-profit trade association that represents the Ski Areas of Western Canada. Its primary areas of focus are government relations, media relations, marketing, safety & risk management and industry conferences.
The Association had lobbied for the holidays occurring on different dates when the Family was first enacted in B.C. in 2013, and is firmly against any change to that schedule.
“We definitely support the current date for both economic and social reasons,” said Christopher Nicholson, President of the CWSAA.
On the economic side, Nicholson said that essentially you are reducing two good weekends for ski resorts into one. For businesses, especially those in the Kootenay region close to the Alberta border, you will lose visitation.
“Right now resorts are busy on B.C. Day and also on the following weekend,” he said.
The second element is social. Nicholson says one of the motivations for the B.C. Day holiday was for B.C. residents to celebrate their own province and all it offers. Combine the B.C. Day with Alberta Family Day and you are competing for space with out of province visitors. Longer lines for ski lifts and not as much access to activities are the result, he says.
“We’ve shared our perspective with the new government,” Nicholson said. “We understand there is a voice saying there is a benefit to combining the weekends, but clearly we feel those arguments are limited.”
Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok agrees and says he’s hearing opposition to the plan up and down the valley and over to Revelstoke.
“In my opinion, Horgan, the Accidental Premier, is playing pure politics. We put in in, he’s going to take it out.”
Clovechok says that when the BC Liberals looked to put the holiday in place, there was massive consultation, with the tourism industry, business owners, chambers of commerce.
“I would venture to say that it was unanimous by those consulted — ‘don’t do the same holiday is Alberta’.”
Clovechok said the move to have the holidays the same weekend doesn’t seem well thought out.
“Is he kowtowing to outside interests like the Toronto Stock Exchange? It’s not putting the interests of British Columbians ahead of others. Everyone knows prices fluctuate on the busier holidays. Now it’s more expensive for BCers to go skiing, go out to dinner, whatever.
“It does not float well for rural B.C.”