Vancouver park board commissioners have lifted a moratorium that has prevented planning or approval of new large-scale special events in the city’s parks and spaces.
According to a motion presented to the board on Monday night, in May 2019 the parks board issued a moratorium on any new “commercial initiatives” until an updated Special Events Guidelines document had been drawn up by city staff. At that point the guidelines were 16 years old.
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Examples of large-scale commercial events in Vancouver parks include Bard on the Beach, the Kitsilano Folk Fest and the Festival of India.
The parks board issues around 1,300 special event permits a year (excluding the COVID-19 impacted 2020/2021) that are government by the Special Events Guidelines. Of those, around one per cent are considered large commercial events but they make up 44 per cent of special events revenue.
Staff has not completed the new Special Events Guidelines document, and on Monday were told to provide an update at next month’s park board meeting.
Staff were also told to “communicate with the public and the festivals and events community that the board will now entertain applications for new commercial events and initiatives in Vancouver parks.”
Meanwhile, the board also voted to make its Alcohol in Parks program permanent and asked staff to explore the potential to expand the program. Staff were also asked to create a pilot project that would allow drinking at beaches.