The Community Advisory Panel is aiming to present its recommendations to the Pride Toronto (PT) board on or around Feb 8, Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto pastor Brent Hawkes tells Xtra.
A public meeting and report will follow, probably around Feb 15, he says.
Now that the information-gathering has closed, the panel will begin writing its recommendations for PT.
Hawkes says all panel members are scheduled to meet for seven hours on Jan 24. They will discuss six topics: parade issues, the purpose of Pride Week, corporatization, PT’s relationship with the community, structure and governance, and entertainment.
“We’ll start the day looking at the questionnaires that we handed out at each meeting,” he says. “Then we’ll have a presentation from the folks who coordinated the online surveys.”
About 1,600 online surveys have been completed and sent in, Hawkes says.
“We are getting closer to having recommendations in all the major areas. We’re on target. We felt slightly overloaded during the input phase. Our heads were reeling.”
There were about 30 targeted consultations with about 40 or 50 groups, Hawkes says, adding, “Trying to capture what the community has been saying to us is a challenge.”
The panel’s recommendations to PT will remain confidential, Hawkes says. There will be an opportunity for the board to respond privately and suggest corrections.
“The board may say to us, ‘Oh, that recommendation won’t work. It’s crazy.’ So there will be a chance for us to fix it. We will be open to helpful corrections, but the board can’t change our direction,” regardless of how contentious the recommendation might be, he says.
Hawkes promises that some of the recommendations will be substantial. He says it’s only fair to give PT time to prepare before the public meeting.
“I’m hoping [the board] will come to the public meeting and say a big yes to a good portion of it,” he says. “I don’t think it’s good for the community to come to the public meeting and hear Pride say, ‘We’re going to go away now and think about it.’ So, that’s the hope.”