Online voting for the last lap of the Aviva Community Fund was so frantic on Wednesday that it overwhelmed website servers and caused delays.
With two local projects going down to the wire, there had to be some early risers adding their final votes before a 9 a.m. deadline. Those with the most votes would be ushered into the final judging phase of the competition.
When the data had finally settled, there was only one of two local projects left standing — and Shelley Sim of Clearwater could see a clear home-team advantage. The Courtney and Skye Buck Memorial Courtyard, one of 93 semi-finalists across Canada competing in the community fund competition, had attracted 23,000 votes.
The other, Eagle Bay Camp, was in 17th place, leaving Connie Alger to conclude that their freezer/cooler project would remain on ice a while longer.
“We are on top of the world,” said Sim, a member of the Raft River elementary’s parent advisory committee, which has spearheaded the project.
The numbers weren’t posted to prove it, but she was confident.
“It’s pretty strong regardless. It was the people we started it for who were the catalysts,” she said, referring to the Bucks, the young expectant couple, teachers who lost their lives in a highway accident last year.
The courtyard project got off the ground two years ago. After the tragedy, the PAC approached the families involved for permission to make it a memorial project in honour of the couple.
“It allowed so much feeling for something that hurt so much. People really had an outpouring of support.”
Aviva is expected to confirm the 30 finalists on Friday.
“They do their due diligence,” Sim said. “You don’t want to hand out $120,000 to just anybody, but we have an excellent reputation as a PAC.”
Winners will be announced Jan. 28.
Alger found some consolation to take away from the competition after weeks of anticipation.
“The last I saw, we were at 17th, so I don’t think we’ve made it into the next round,” said Alger, whose family attends the Shuswap camp. “It’s disappointing but it’s been awesome in terms of press and information. I’m hoping donors come forward because of information shared about the camp.”