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City Of Vancouver Back Out Of Harambecouver Parade Hours Before Celebration

August 26, 2018

While the city had originally proposed changes to the parade route, requesting organizers to change the flow of people from the sidewalk to support the enhancement of the Harambecouver experience, the organizers would be left scrambling after a lack of funding from the Government, as well as staffing restrictions which fell short. Although the organizers had designed initial plans that commenced high level negotiations with the city, the lack of funding, coupled with last minute decisions to revoke an already approved beer garden would almost cause Harambecouver to cancel this year’s programming. According to Kombii Nanjalah of Great Lakes Network, “Why did they approve a beer garden, force an increase in our liability insurance for Parade routing, and personal investments in the staffing and deposits to activate the Parade in a site that they proposed, only to tell us at the last hour that unfortunately they will not be moving forward with a Parade?” Furthermore, according to Nanjalah, VDP Staff Sergeant Ken Athans whom she had met with had stated “last year’s parade went off with not a single issue that he was aware of” yet the parade was still not approved. While Harambecouver had developed strong plans that included a Pancake Breakfast for people living in the Downtown Eastside with Nesters Garden communicating interest in sponsoring this component, engaged University Fashion Week of whom had developed plans towards an activated Fashion Programming, and Communities Vancouver of whom had taken the lead Sports Activation and Traffic Management Planning and Negotiations with the city of Vancouver, the continuous cuts to park activation and city negotiations would significantly impact the productions ability to push in various plans slated for 2018’s programming. Jayden Maharaj from Communities of Greater Vancouver believes the decision of Government to pull the plug last minute especially given the staffing investment, time investment and production investment was just callous to the staff and stakeholders who have been taken for a ride by their inefficiencies. “Someone who had not been to our meetings, decided we were not at a level to have a Parade or a Beer Garden” said one of the Parade Executives who has chosen to remain anonymous. They approved poor plans by other festivals who we’re unable to operationalize a been garden while also supporting them with funding to produce their production, but for us, who had the infrastructure, we’re self funding our own production and had the people to support our plans, we’re now being met with hesitation after the liquor licensing had approved and been paid in full for the Beer Garden in the Park. While Octavio Silva had highlighted differences in Vancouver’s Parks Board Office, citing changes to the governing constitution, lack of Council Meeting at an appropriate time to approve the proposed beer garden which had originally been slated for the Thornton Park, the city would push high level demands on the organizers due to these inefficiencies and that just increased risk. Steven Lytton, one of Canada’s outspoken residential school survivors believed that if there was already an interest from the city to cut necessary funding support while crippling the Parade from having any desired revenue and knowing full well that they did not want to support the addition of a beer garden, giving well intentioned organizers the run around of whom were supporting the production with their own money was not good use of Tax Payers money. Pride Parade was forced to cancel their programming due to the city’s inability to support demands required from their production due to factors entirely out of the organizers control, but it’s the organizers who have to take the financial damages associated with these high level decisions. According Brad Achtem, one of the Project Managers in charge of planning and negotiations with the city on HMC18’s Parade Routing there were disappointments to see inequities from different standards by each city office. While there were some offices working with organizers to enhance their plans due to budget constraints, workings to cooperatively find solutions that would see the considerable work being put in by Parade Organizers to meeting the necessary traffic management plans, “Sherwood Plant, A City of Vancouver Traffic & Data Management Engineer would hand the verdict of cancellation to us, without an interest for meetings or providing rationale as to what other edits to the organizers traffic plans needed enhancement to meet city regulations and guidelines”. Producing a TMP ranged from $25,000 to $50,000 and this was merely the staffing, equipment, and logistical requirements needed to execute the parade successfully, and while an inhouse team working with TMP Consultants had worked to react quickly to hash out any last minute changes, being told by Sherwood that he would be unable to engage the team for 5 minutes to provide updates to their plans, was not fair. While the VPD had noted a lack of public disturbance issues from the Harambecouver 2017, the decision to cancel the beer garden and various other plans all together would come minutes after Plant Sherwood’s decision to cancel all requests for contact sighting he was not satisfied with the plan. Steven Lytton wants to know why Plant Sherwood, an hired public servant of the city whose responsibility was to work with the organizers and whom was never in any negotiations felt it was alright to cancel and terminate all further conversations. While we were forced to push the Parade to the sidewalk in 2017, we’re now forced to do the same for 2018 and to me, that is not how it should be. This Parade is a responsibility of the city as they are employed by Tax Payer money. “With personal funds going into supporting the production demands, the decisions by Plant Sherwood did not take the organizers into consideration”, we understand the risks associated with our plans for the second year, but “it was the city that proposed a new Parade Route, it was the city that proposed the addition of two parks instead of one park, it was the city that proposed the moving of the Beer Garden to the sidewalk due to their elected council’s inability to meet although they had approved plans for another festival in the a same Park of whom we’re unable to deliver due to inadequate infrastructure, but for a production that had it’s own bartenders, got approval from the liquor distribution branch with increases to their liability insurance to cover these program additions, it was extremely callous of Plant Sherwood to hand down decisions from an office when it was their faults to begin with’. With a lack of approval from the city on road activation, Skynation has ultimately been forced to pull out of production support for the 2018 Harambecouver Multicultural Parade. The Company’s C.E.O and Creative Producer Kayode Fatoba believes there’s an opportunity to grow from this, but what we’re hearing is there needs to be a lot more synergy from everyone at the negotiations table. While we want to see a well executed production, if it’s at the expense of participant safety, these places added constraints outside the company’s insurance coverage that puts the business’ licenses and future productions in jeopardy. While Kombii Nanjalah of Great Lakes Network still intends on supporting the community still looking to take to the street to celebrate their multiculturalism as Canadians, her hope is that moving forward Government will understand that they have a responsibility to support this program and community to ensure 2019 is a lot more supported and this year’s expenses are looked at considerably as the financial impact and run around by the city caused considerable dents to the entire production outcome.

 

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