The Pride Society has “not moved forward” with efforts to have Pride designated a civic event, says president Ken Coolen.
“We have just been working on creating some structure within our organization and looking at some strategic planning,” Coolen explains. It’s definitely on the radar, he says but “it’s just something we have not been able to really focus on at this point.”
Even if Pride had attempted to once again apply for the designation, Vancouver’s special events manager says revisiting city support for events like Pride is on hold until the fall.
“We didn’t want to go to council given their budget situation,” Muriel Honey explains. “I think they cut a lot from the city budget and we have a hiring freeze. The idea of going in and asking for this kind of money, you want to do those things when you think you’ll have success.
“I think council is very supportive of it; I just think they would have had difficulty doing it,” she adds. “It’s on the books to come to council in the fall. In the meantime it’s status quo.”
Despite the current economic strictures, the city has approved “a good chunk” of financial support — a combined $30,000 through its celebration and service grants — for this year’s parade and festival, according to Coolen.
The total includes a supplemental increase to both grants amounting to $10,000 — $5,000 in cash in the celebration grant and $5,000 in the service grant.
Honey confirms the increase. “The council adopted it last week. I noticed the $5,000 extra, which I thought was very nice.”
For the second year, the parade will start at Thurlow and Robson Sts, an addition of seven blocks to the traditional route. The city gave the Pride Society the go-ahead to extend the route for last year’s celebrations, which brought more than half a million people onto the West End’s streets.