NPA Councillor Melissa De Genova calls on the City of Vancouver to champion a city-led fund for free public events

July 9, 2018, Vancouver, B.C. – Vancouver City Councillor Melissa De Genova is bringing forward a motion at tomorrow’s City Council meeting asking staff to explore an innovative idea for a city-led fund that would support the financial stability and sustainability of special events recognised by the City of Vancouver; events that have a positive economic impact for the city and bond communities together.

In her motion, De Genova notes that many popular events are having trouble meeting the conditions set by the City to obtain event permits, particularly the rising costs related to safety and increased event attendance.

“City staff and the Vancouver Police have safety and security requirements for good reasons. Unfortunately, we’ve recently seen several events cancelled due to rising costs. The Pride Week Davie Street Party and the Canada Day Parade were both cancelled this year due to a combination of increased costs and insufficient funding,” said De Genova. “Staff have come to City Council with recommendations for corporations, private donors, and sponsors to provide financial partnership for special projects and developments. But private donors and potential event sponsors are often unsure where and how to target their donations and contributions to best support the most affordable and ‘no-cost’ public events; not to mention being overwhelmed by the red tape.”

De Genova’s motion asks staff to consider the establishment of a city-led fund that would alleviate funding pressures for popular city events and make it easier for local organizations and companies looking to give back in their community and target their donations and contributions effectively.

“Many private donors and corporate sponsors find it overwhelming to research where they can make the biggest difference,” said De Genova. “A city-led fund that outlines specific event costs, and considers acknowledgement of sponsorship, could lead to an increase in donations that would assist the many non-profit organizations who are desperately trying to sustain events when the City’s permit-related costs increase every year.”

De Genova’s motion includes examples of sponsorship already supported by the City of Vancouver, such as the Honda Celebration of Light that includes YVR Cabanas and the Concord Pacific Lounge.

Examples of popular events that have suffered from the rising costs related to safety and increased event attendance include the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was cancelled two years ago, and the Santa Claus Parade was almost cancelled until a last-minute donor stepped in to save the event. Many other events, including Italian Day on The Drive, have likewise admitted that increased costs have made it difficult for their annual events to operate.

The text of Councillor De Genova’s motion is appended below.


Media Contact:

City of Vancouver led fund for large Community and Special Events

MOVER: Councillor De Genova
SECONDER: Councillor Ball


1. Costs for permitted special events in the City of Vancouver continue to rise each year.

2. Some events in the City of Vancouver have been cancelled due to rising costs required by the City of Vancouver, including but not limited, to the annual Canada Day Parade, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the annual Vancouver Pride Week Davie Street Party.

3. Longstanding annual events that are age friendly and free to the public have been canceled in the City of Vancouver, due to rising costs related to permits, policing and road closures required by the City of Vancouver are free, age friendly and public events.

4. Several community and city recognized events are organized by non-profit organizations that rely on donors, sponsors and private fundraising to cover event costs.

5. The City of Vancouver has committed to investing in Arts, Cultural and Community Events.

6. Currently, there is no information on the City of Vancouver website as to how an organization, corporation, or private donor can apply to contribute to the City of Vancouver to costs for a city recognized or community led special events.

7. The City of Vancouver accepts corporate sponsors for large civic events, including but not limited to “Honda Celebration of Lights” that includes a “Concord Lounge at the Inukshuk” and “YVR Observation Deck” or the Concord New Year’s Eve Party.

8. For City of Vancouver recognized events, civic events or events granted permits by the City of Vancouver, there is no clear schedule of levels suggested for donor recognition, including but not limited to signage, advertising and logo recognition on event materials.


A. THAT Council direct staff to consider the possibility of a Special Events Fund, championed by the City of Vancouver, that accepts donations from corporations and private donors, for free public events in Vancouver that face financial hardships due to rising city costs.

FURTHER THAT Staff consult with stakeholders including but not limited to the event production community, event organizers and organizations to develop a framework, and any terms and conditions for donors and events applying to this fund.

B. THAT Council direct staff to consider providing cost estimates to potential sponsors and donors, and potentially create a schedule of typical fees for large events that demonstrate fee for service and report back to Council with recommendations by the end of September 2018