Ladysmith’s famous Light Up can be the beginning of a lot of people’s Christmas season, but getting there can be a bit tougher than normal.
“To make things work efficiently as well as trying to accommodate almost four times the town’s usual population the Light Up folks, along with the Town, need to make alterations to traffic patterns” said Festival spokesperson Duck Paterson.
First Avenue (the downtown area) will be closed to vehicle traffic from Roberts Street north to Symonds Street starting at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 24th. Roberts Street will remain open, so that folks can come in and out of Town until just before the parade (approximately 6:15 p.m.) and will re-open to east-west traffic right after the parade.
Second Avenue from Buller Street to Strathcona Road will also be closed from 3;00 p.m. until (approx.) 10:00 p.m. for emergency vehicle access.
The second phase of the closure of First Avenue will be starting at 5:00 p.m. This closure will go from Roberts to Belair Street and last until (approx.) 10:00 p.m. Bayview Avenue is also included in this closure as it allows for the Kinsmen parade to marshall all the floats safely. As well, First Avenue from Symonds Street (roundabout) to the Island Highway will also be closed at 5:00 p.m. and that applies to traffic both entering Ladysmith as well as leaving.
Paterson went on to say,
“That the big change this year is the closure of the left turn lane on Grouhel Road. The Department of Highways has said that they will not allow any traffic to turn left (head north) onto the Island Highway from Grouhel Road from 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. This is being done as a safety precaution because of the anticipated heavier traffic heading north.”
“That for those folks wanting to head north, from Grouhel Road, folks are to turn right onto the highway and go south to Ludlow and then left. Then just go a block and turn left onto Rocky Creek Road. Just keep on there and that will take folks all the way to the highway and then just merge and away you go.”
Paterson also said,
“Along with the street closures the parking lot behind the Masonic Lodge will also be closed to the public from 6:00 a.m. on the 24th to 11:00 p.m. This closure is necessary to allow for parking of equipment as well as the volunteer headquarters.”
For those visitors wanting to see Light Up, coming from north of Ladysmith, there is ample parking at both the Pentacostal Church as well as the Catholic Church. Festival has free shuttle buses to each spot and they will take folks right downtown and return them once the event is over. The churches can be accessed by turning right onto Grouhel Road (just north of Ladysmith) from the highway and follow the signs up the hill.
The same goes for folks coming from the south of Ladysmith. There is lots of parking at Transfer Beach Park as well there is free shuttle service to downtown as well both before and after Light Up. Drivers just need to turn right off the highway at the lights at Roberts Street and proceed to the parking lots at Transfer Beach.
The Festival of Lights appreciates everybody’s patience and consideration and we hope the entire community comes out to enjoy the great family event.