Vancouver grants civic status to Pride, Vaisakhi and Chinatown Spring Festival parades

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      City council voted unanimously Wednesday (May 29) to grant civic status to three Vancouver parades.

      The Pride, Vaisakhi and Chinatown Spring Festival celebrations have been designated as “civic parades”—a status that will come with increased funding to offset charges for city services like policing and traffic.

      Jerry Dobrovolny, Vancouver's director of transportation, told council that the large non-profit parades offer significant economic and cultural benefits to the city.

      “We felt that really what was lacking, and where we felt there was a need, was for some specific funding for these very large parades that offer a tremendous range of benefits,” he said.

      Vision Vancouver councillor Tim Stevenson, who introduced the motion that prompted the recommendations, said the three events “enhance our city enormously”.

      He noted that the city is not “picking up the full tab” for the events, as it does for a civic event like the Festival of Lights.

      “This leaves incentives for all of those groups,” said Stevenson. “It means though that we are establishing a partnership in a way that hasn't existed in the past.”

      As part of the designation, Vancouver will cover a portion of the costs for city services for the events, with the larger celebrations like Pride receiving more support. Based on the amount that the three event organizers were billed for services in 2012, the city expects to spend $76,950 on the three parades.

      Stevenson noted the criteria established as part of the new event category could see other parades qualify for the same partnership with the city in the future.

      For other events to qualify as civic parades, they will need to be operated by a not-for-profit society, have an average attendance of at least 100,000, be part of a larger celebration, promote diversity, and demonstrate significant economic impact. Expansion of the designation to any other events will go before council for approval.

      Non-Partisan Association councillor Elizabeth Ball called the support for the three parades “a long time coming”.

      “The wonderful thing about our parades is I think it allows us to be able to celebrate the city, celebrate our citizens, and bring forward the issue of human rights in a way that is acceptable and becomes embraced,” she said.

      In approving the staff recommendations today, council also agreed to grandfather the civic designation for the Grey Cup celebration into the new “civic parade” category.

      The designation will see the parades qualify for up to $20,000 in one-time funding to cover the development of an operational plan. Each of the non-profit groups will also be eligible for a $10,000 grant to reduce the environmental impact of the events.




      May 30, 2013 at 12:31pm

      if city has extra money to fund these parades why dont they give us some relief from property taxes.Do you think more people will attaend these events as they are funded by city I mean it does not make no sense to me.


      May 31, 2013 at 8:32am

      Sara, in terms of the overall city budget the funds set aside for these parades are insignificant. Vancouver's property taxes remain very low, and I believe they were increased by 1.3% last year, below the rate of inflation.