Beacon Park is one of the gems of the Peninsula. The open, landscaped, waterfront space is a delight to behold – hence why it is so often bustling with people and pets, especially on sunny summer days.
It is home to many great performances and events, the penultimate being Sidney Summer Sounds – open air concerts that happen every Sunday throughout the summer, from 2 to 4 p.m. (The last one of this year happens this weekend when the Timebenders perform.)
A town bylaw restricts use of the park to free, unticketed public events. It’s a great concept that the space should be for open access and for the most part, that rule should be respected.
But the bandshell in Beacon Park isn’t in use every day and outside of June to August, it’s quite seldom occupied.
Recently, the Sidney Rotary Club proposed to host Shakespeare productions in the bandshell (see the Wednesday, Aug. 22 News Review) and wanted to sell tickets to offset associated costs, as well as to raise funds for their charity. Council said no, citing the bylaw.
It’s time for council to revisit that bylaw. Keep Beacon Park a hub of activity with more performances through the summer and into the cooler months too. Priority should always go to free performances for the enjoyment of everyone, but when it’s not being used for that purpose, surely others could take advantage of the space. It will only add to the ambiance and rich culture of the Saanich Peninsula.
Plus, anyone who has been to the park knows that while seats will be ticketed, there will be plenty of places to stand nearby to catch a glimpse of the performances for free.