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Pride wants to move to Columbia Street

Royal City Pride Society president Ian Gould - Grant Granger/NewsLeader file
Royal City Pride Society president Ian Gould
— image credit: Grant Granger/NewsLeader file

The New Westminster Pride Society wants to take its annual festival Downtown.

Society president Ian Gould has asked city council to allow the festival to be staged on Columbia Street between Fourth and Sixth streets on Saturday, Aug. 16.

Although it’s a nine-day festival the highlight has been a celebration on Saturday afternoons in Tipperary Park.

Putting it on Columbia should help Downtown businesses as well as the society, said Gould in a letter to council.

“The move will allow us to continue to grow attendance at New Westminster Pride and establish us as a summer destination festival for all residents of Metro Vancouver as well as further away,” wrote Gould.

He said Tourism New Westminster and the Downtown New Westminster Business Improvement Area support the festival and will help market it.

Gould asked council to make a decision soon so they can move ahead with organizing the event.

City council asked its staff to prepare a report on the feasibility of the request by its Jan. 27 meeting, but appeared amenable to making it happen. Coun. Jonathan Coté said having the festival in the business district is a step in the right direction, and the city needs to respond in a timely manner so the society can plan.

With the change in location, instead of having its Hill and Heels event where participants parade up Sixth Street for the proclamation at City Hall, the pride march would follow the proclamation and go down to Columbia Street for the start of the festival at 3 p.m.

Columbia would be closed between 1 and 9 p.m.

Note: this story has been updated from a previous version. Organizers say the original plan for a four-day fest has now been expanded to nine.

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