12 get Lights Fest awards Realtor-driven society applauds community groups The Festival of Lights board of directors decided to spread the wealth this year, awarding a dozen recipients a total $63,750 during a luncheon at Val d’Isere restaurant, March 10. There's more to come, says co-chair Sharon Audley, as total donations are expected to reach $80,000. "Some years there have only been two recipients, but there were a lot of small projects this year," Audley says. John MacGregor is the other co-chair. Receiving funds this year are Pemberton District Search & Rescue for a snowmobile ($5,000); Mount Currie Band for kitchen equipment ($5,000); a theft system for Whistler Public Library ($10,000); Young Adults in Partnership for skateboard park improvements ($2,500); and the Fine Arts Committee for an artist in residence ($3,000). Also receiving funds are Whistler Community Services Society ($3,500); Whistler Children's Chorus ($7,500); Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA) for trail maintenance and a junior racing team ($5,250); automation of record keeping for Pemberton & District Public Library ($5,000); and Whistler Children's Centre got $10,000 to help renovate and renew its existing playgrounds. The Resort Municipality of Whistler got a $4,000 donation to buy more Christmas lighting. A $3,000 donation went to support the Whistler Town Party. This is the Festival of Light's seventh year. For the past six of those years it has been organized by the Association of Whistler Realtors. "Any realtor can be involved," Audley says. Groups wishing to receive funds first respond to a call for projects in the fall. A short list is made from the proposals. Those who make the cut are then asked to make a presentation before a final decision is made, Audley says. With this year's giving, the Festival of Lights has handed out $385,000. Major fund-raising efforts for the society include a gala dinner/dance and silent auction held before Christmas, usually in World Cup week.