Athlone Travel owner Elizabeth Smith is ready to help the Oak Bay Fire Department by donating money raised from photos taken with Santa during the Oak Bay Christmas Light-up this Sunday.

Santa enlisted to help Oak Bay Fire Department

Athlone Travel has raised $6,300 towards its goal of $10,000 to help the Oak Bay Fire Department.

The Oak Bay Fire Department has a wish list and a local business has asked Santa to make it come true.

Athlone Travel has raised $6,300 towards its goal of  $10,000 for the fire department. All money raised will be used to purchase non-essential items such as infrared cameras, pelican lighting and flashlights and to either supplement or replace aging equipment.

“It’s a great benefit to the fire department,” said fire chief Dave Cockle. “It keeps our equipment budget down.”

The department makes a request to the municipality each year for equipment upgrades and replacement, but changing priorities within the district can affect the timing of the required funding, he said.

Athlone Travel owner Elizabeth Smith decided to help out the fire department after one of her clients donated a defibrillator to the department recently.

Smith said she called the fire chief and got a list of things they need that are non-essential, but still necessary to do the job right. Her staff regularly raises funds for a variety of causes and decided to share their efforts with the fire department this year.

“The idea is, let’s give a gift to the fire department,” Smith said. “One person can’t buy an infrared camera for them but 10 people (together) can.”

Santa will drop by the Athlone Travel office, 2187 Oak Bay Ave., on Sunday, Nov. 24 after the 5 p.m. light up and kids and adults can have pictures taken with him for a donation.

“We want as many people to come through (as possible),” Smith said. “We want to raise as much money as we can get.”

Smith added that the District of Oak Bay will issue tax receipts to those who donate $20 or more.

The 13th annual Oak Bay Christmas Festival Light Up starts at 2 p.m. with a mix of entertainment, games and children’s events. At 5 p.m., thousands of lights strung on buildings, lamp posts and trees will light up the village.

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