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Vancouver’s Bright Nights cancelled after key equipment allegedly stolen

Click to play video: 'Extreme cold hurts popular holiday fundraiser' Extreme cold hurts popular holiday fundraiser
The cold weather is affecting some popular holiday fundraisers, including Bright Nights in Stanley Park. Gord Ditchburn with the BC Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund talks about how the charity is struggling to meet its fundraising goals, and the impact that will have on Burn Fund programs throughout the year. – Dec 30, 2021

A major B.C. charity is reeling from the latest in a string of reported thefts — hurting its ability to fundraise in 2021.

The BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund cancelled its Bright Nights holiday lights event for the rest of the season on Friday, after it said someone stole the main power source for its display.

“The Vancouver Park Board and the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund are devastated that the public will not have a final opportunity to experience the magic of Bright Nights this year — a year in which Bright Nights in Stanley Park faced many challenges,” the Fund said in a media release.

It’s not the first time the event has been targeted by thieves. Someone made off with thousands of dollars worth of cables in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Read more: Good Samaritan helps replace cables stolen from Bright Nights display in Stanley Park

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The event was already operating at 50 per cent capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Freezing cold weather cut attendance further. Icy temperatures created mechanical problems on the miniature train that carries participants through the light display.

Click to play video: 'Bright Nights in Stanley Park Opens 2021' Bright Nights in Stanley Park Opens 2021
Bright Nights in Stanley Park Opens 2021 – Dec 23, 2021

“This year our online donations are down almost 40 per cent, our gate donations are down almost 80 per cent,” Burn Fund president Gord Ditchburn told Global News on Thursday.

“It’s severely impacted our ability to raise funds and run the various Burn Fund programs that support burn survivors across the province.”

The train was offline for three days, and when organizers got it up and running on Friday they realized none of the lights in the display would illuminate due to the missing power source.

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Read more: More than $10,000 of cables reported stolen from Bright Nights in Stanley Park

Vancouver police confirmed the theft, estimated at about $6,000, had been reported.

Amid COVID-19 challenges in 2019, the Burn Fund also created a 50-50 draw to bolster fundraising, with a prize that had grown to $322,000 by Thursday.

Organizers are urging the public to donate or buy a 50-50 ticket amid the latest setback.

Proceeds from the charity go to helping child and adult burn survivors with mental health supports, medical equipment and travel for treatment.

 

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