Illuminate Revelstoke Society plans to light up more of downtown

Illuminate Revelstoke Society announces plans to light more trees in the downtown area in phase two of the groups project.

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Grizzly Plaza in downtown Revelstoke pictured in late November, 2021. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

Phase one of Illuminate Revelstoke Society’s plan to brighten the community brought life to Grizzly Plaza this winter. When the Society announced intentions for a phase two in a Facebook post, the reactions were positive.

Grizzly Plaza in downtown Revelstoke pictured in late November 2021. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

Former Revelstoke mayor Mark McKee is a leading figure at Illuminate Revelstoke Society and told Revelstoke Mountaineer staff about the plans to expand the atmospheric lighting to other parts of town in an interview. 

“We want to take the scene that we’ve created in the plaza with the trees and start spreading it around into the downtown core and business community,” says McKee. 

McKee stresses the importance of Grizzly Plaza as the focal point of the project and says that phase two does not intend to bring the same density of lighting to any other single area of town. Instead, phase two will look at other trees in the downtown area.

“We’ve been encouraged by all the comments that we’ve been getting and the enthusiasm from people. That’s really what started us looking at and thinking about phase two,” says McKee. “Phase one and phase two are thanks to the Revelstoke Credit Union, Columbia Basin Trust, and the City of Revelstoke, but the most important thing that’s got us going is the enthusiasm and gratitude from the residents, which is who we’re doing it for.”

McKee says the Society’s goal is to make Revelstoke a warm and inviting place. They achieved that goal with the lights in Grizzly Plaza this winter McKee says but wants to take it further and expand that ambiance. 

“We want to get people out and downtown. We want them to get out and enjoy the community,” McKee says. “And we know from travelling around the world, lights mean safety and security to a lot of people.”

For phase two, McKee says they’ll be looking to light trees with reasonable power sources available and ensure lighting the tree will not negatively impact residential properties. Additionally, the society plans to turn off some of the lights in the plaza for the summer to conserve energy. 

When asked about the effects of the Grizzly Plaza Enhancement project on Illuminate Revelstoke Society’s work, McKee says he feels confident that it will not affect the trees. 

“The committee knows full well what is important to the community and that message will be going to city council,” he says. “I’m not on city council, but I’m pretty confident that the plaza that everybody knows and loves will be the same plaza that everybody knows and loves.”