CFB Esquimalt cancels holiday lighting contest

Construction on base blamed for axing of popular event

A favourite holiday tradition has been shelved at CFB Esquimalt due to ongoing construction at the base’s dockyard.

The annual Navy Lighting Contest, where decorated ships and buildings are displayed and the public may vote for their favourites, attracted nearly 5,800 visitors last December.

“I fully recognize that the (event) has become a tradition for many of us, including our neighbours in the community,” said base commander Capt. (Navy) Bob Auchterlonie.

“My decision is based on a number of factors, including the ongoing construction and renewal in HMC Dockyard, the ability for personnel to safely decorate buildings near the work being done, as well as the unavailability of ships due to operational and maintenance requirements.”

The lighting contest has also seen the base act as a cash and food drop-off point for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. Upwards of $20,000 worth of annual donations was collected in recent years.

Officials hope the event will be revived in 2013.

dpalmer@vicnews.com