New Westminster association awaits grant decision

The Hyack International Parade plans to go on – but some cash would certainly move things along.

Planning is underway to hold the annual Hyack International Parade on Saturday, May 24.

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“From that perspective we are in great shape,” said Peter Goodwin, president of the Hyack Festival Association. “We lack funding, of course, because there hasn’t been a final determination made. We are up and ready to go other than that that problem.”

In response to internal problems at the Hyack Festival Association, the City of New Westminster took a series of actions last fall, including requesting a review of Hyack’s finances. Although the city has approved grants to many local organizations, it has yet to deal with Hyack’s grant application.

“I should mention I do not have a problem with us not having our grant approved yet. Really,” Goodwin told The Record Monday. “I don’t know if it comes from being a lawyer, but city council said ‘We are going to do an investigation of Hyack,’ which involved a whole bunch of different things, but in particular the accounting audit. How could they possibly turn around now and say, ‘Well we haven’t completed our investigation, but we have made a decision?’”

Although a couple of things contributed to a delay of the financial review, including a death in the family of Hyack’s bookkeeper, Goodwin believes it’s been completed and is in council’s hands.

Lisa Spitale, the city’s chief administrative officer, said city council and staff is still working through the analysis done for the city by KPMG. In a Feb. 25 email to The Record, Spitale stated she was unable to determine when the information would be made public.

Goodwin told The Record that planning for the Hyack parade is well underway by Rick Molstad, a former Citizen of the Year who organized the parade for many years.

“My view on what we should be doing at this point is to try and mend bridges and build new bridges and try and get things back on an even keel,” he said. “With respect to the parade, I believe it absolutely should go on. Hyack is the proper, if not the only reasonable entity that should be operating it with the vast knowledge and experience we have from quite a significant number of volunteers.”

The Hyack Festival Association has requested $185,000 in cash and $40,000 in in-kind services from the city in 2014, which would go toward Hyack week activities, the Hyack float, Canada Day, summer concerts, the Miss Hyack New Westminster Ambassador program, a Christmas parade, and staff and administration.

“It is costing us at this point in time. We do have some independent financing interests – rent from the (Hyack) building and other things like that,” Goodwin said, when asked how the organization can continue operating without a city grant. “We can certainly carry on with initial work from that perspective. The actual hard-core costs of putting on a parade would definitely be a real problem in terms of funding.”

Although the Hyack Festival Association’s grant application to the city included plans to hold an uptown street festival following the parade, Goodwin said that is up in the air after learning the city had approved funding for the Uptown Business Association to hold Uptown Live on parade day.

For many years, Hyack held the Uptown Street Fair on Sixth Avenue after the parade. Two years ago, it joined forces with the Uptown Business Association to hold Uptown Live, a street festival that features bands on several stages, food trucks, displays and more.

“Personally, I can only speak personally at this point, I would be very surprised if we operate a street fair if Uptown, at this time, is doing it on the same day,” said Goodwin, noting the directors hadn’t met after the Uptown Live grant was approved.  “If they choose to exercise a different day – there was some discussion about that – I think we would look very seriously at trying to run the fair on parade day. I think they work really, really well together. I think the uptown people even realize that as well.“

City council recently approved $28,000 in cash and $20,000 in in-kind services for the Uptown Business Association for the 2014 Uptown Live event.

“My anticipated expectation at this stage is, since it appears that the approval has been made for the funding that it is going ahead,” Goodwin said about Uptown Live. “If that is the case, I assume we will try and work together to make it as successful as we can because it’s in the best interest of the community.”

Bart Slotman, a member of the Uptown Business Association, told The Record the business association isn’t interested in a small-scale, amateurish street fair like those predating Uptown Live.

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