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Pride 2005 adds to deficit

Unexpected costs, slow revenues blamed

NUMBERS NOT FINALIZED. Pride vice-chair Darren Fisher says some businesses -- including one of the bars operating the beer facilities - have not yet submitted revenues to the Pride Committee. Credit: (Shawn Scallen)

It was a good time. But it didn’t pay for itself. Pride 2005 added to the burden of debt carried by the Ottawa-Gatineau Pride Committee.

Despite donation buckets placed around the festival site and during the parade itself, accompanied by a placard detailing the costs associated with putting on the festival, Pride Day donations only came to about $1,800, and Pride’s share of beer garden revenues so far is only $5,000. To date, Pride has lost close to $13,000 on this year’s festival.

And that’s in addition to the estimated $120,000 deficit from the last several festivities.

Insurance proved an unexpected cost this year. After arranging for $1 in liability for the Festival Plaza site alone, organizers were told at the last minute that they needed to provide insurance for the parade as well. That left them scrambling to pay the $15,000 price tag.

Pride has also found itself in a disagreement with city hall, arguing against fees that were charged despite an understanding that they would be waived. The results of those negotiations will affect the final figure for Pride.

But Pride is still collecting revenue.

“We don’t have a treasurer at the moment, so the numbers haven’t been finalized,” says vice-chair Darren Fisher. He points out that the $13,000 figure doesn’t take into account a number of outstanding receivables that Pride is waiting to collect, including some $3,000 from ads placed in the guide booklet, or that Pride has not yet reconciled with all of the bars who ran the beer gardens.

A public post-mortem held at city hall Oct 3 heard praise for the quality of the 2005 celebration.

“From my perspective, Pride was a success,” said city councillor Diane Holmes, who facilitated the post-mortem.

The August celebration set records with its 63 parade entries, 52 vendor and information tables, and a packed Festival Plaza.

Post-mortem participants also discussed volunteers. While a large volunteer presence materialized within weeks of the festival itself, the consensus was that there was still a lack of volunteer numbers, and especially not enough early on in the planning stages. Community apathy was blamed for both the donations raised and the difficulty finding volunteers.

More concrete and detailed financial details should be available at the Oct 11 annual general meeting.