The City of Parksville will not participate in B.C. Culture Days for September.
During a Monday, July 5 Parksville meeting, council decided to defer the $50,000 grant for B.C. Culture Days until spring 2022.
The grant was initially approved for allocation from the city’s COVID relief fund at the previous council meeting on June 21. At that time, it was to be jointly awarded to the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) and the Parksville Downtown Business Association (PDBA), following a presentation of a business plan.
However, since the June 21 meeting, council learned the PDBA has since withdrawn from participating in Culture Days.
“The president of the PDBA came in to see me and advised me that the downtown merchants were too busy to be able to put on a festival, or some kind of event, in September to tie in with B.C. Culture Days,” said Mayor Ed Mayne.
Although Mayne said the MAC was still interested, and even mentioned the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce potentially participating, due to time constraints council ultimately decided it would be best to defer allocating the $50,000 until next year.
Another consideration was overloading city staff with additional work.
“Whatever we do for a celebration like this, the staff are going to be involved. The staff are going to have to issue permits, they’re going to have to issue cheques for COVID funds, they’re going to have to issue all the other legal stuff that happens with an event like this,” said Coun. Doug O’Brien. “I think its putting the gun to too many people’s heads to be ready on time for that.”
His concern stemmed from a report by the chief administrative officer, Keeva Kehler, which stated there was already too much work and not enough staff to complete the existing list of priorities put upon them.