Posted by: VPSN | March 25, 2010

Fees for block parties? Not a good idea.

You may have heard that City Council is contemplating a fee review of film and special events in the City.  As part of this, they are considering implementing a $100 charge to community groups for things like block parties and other activities.  While we at the VPSN aren’t wholly against fees being charged for special events (filming a blockbuster movie on our streets? – pay up!), we do have issues with local neighbourhood groups being dinged in this fashion.

Here’s an excerpt of the letter we sent to Mayor and Council…

The Vancouver Public Space Network is not in favour of applying a fee to events organized by Community Groups and Not-for-Profits.  Community Groups have already been considerably burdened by reduced funding, and while $100 may not seem like much given the scale of corporate events, it is actually a decent sum of money for many local groups.  For example, for those that qualified, a fee of this sort would be the equivalent of one fifth of a Vancouver Foundation “small neighbourhood grant”. 

In short, we feel the proposed $100 fee is a disincentive for the sort of grassroots, community building activities that many people – yourselves included – are trying to encourage in the city. 

The Vancouver Public Space Network would be willing and able to work with City staff on a pro-bono basis to identify ways to streamline the special event process for community and not-for-profit groups.  (Your report identifies staff time allocations of approximately 3 hrs/group.)

We recognize that the City is facing considerable challenges; however, we do not feel that using a cost-recovery model of this sort for community groups is a productive way to resolve such difficulties.

If we can be of any assistance with this initiative, please contact us at your convenience.


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