Vision Vancouver wants to look at designating the Pride parade as a civic event.
City councillor Tim Stevenson said he’s planning to bring forward a motion when council reconvenes in September asking staff to look into the possibility of granting civic status to the annual event.
“It’s been my goal for many years to make this a civic event, the same as the Celebration of Light, and the same as the Grey Cup Parade,” he told the Straight.
“I’ve always felt that it was a matter of justice as well, that this is an event that is of great importance, not only to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered community, but to the wider community.”
Stevenson and his Vision colleagues also want to see two other major festivals, Vaisakhi and the Lunar New Year, considered as official civic events.
The councillor said the purpose of the motion will be to ask staff to come back with details including criteria for designation of civic status, and the costs of policing, sanitation, parking, and other city services associated with the events.
“It will be expensive, it’s no doubt—it’ll be a line item,” Stevenson said. “Just as the Celebration of Light is celebrated and is expensive. But these are events that Vancouverites want.”
“The idea of this motion is to in fact have the staff come back with a really detailed report, and then we’ll move forward and have debate,” he added. “These three [events] are very large, and bring in a great amount of economic benefit, and I think that will be the kind of screen that staff will put on.”
Rose Hamilton, the partnerships coordinator for the Vancouver Pride Society, said organizers were “delighted” to hear of the motion.
“We’ve all worked very hard for this between various parties at various times, wanting to designate it as a civic event, and at various times lobbying for it, so it’s very nice that it seems to have finally come together to be proposed,” she told the Straight by phone.
According to Hamilton, the total bill for last year’s Pride was just under $67,000 for city costs, including about $26,000 for policing for the parade.
Vancouver city council reconvenes on September 18.