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Who will run Hyack parade?

The future of Hyack Festival Association’s annual slate of events is unclear as city council considers whether to keep funding the organization.

In fact, the city may organize the annual Hyack International Parade if a city-ordered audit of the group shows it has not managed the city’s money responsibly, said Coun. Chuck Puchmayr.

Hyack has asked the city to provide a festival grant of $185,000 in cash and $40,000 in in-kind services.

The city has delayed a decision, pending the financial review.

But with Hyack Festival week and the parade three months away, the clock is ticking, said Puchmayr.

“Some of these things are running into critical periods of time,” he said.

“I’m hoping the parade continues on.”

That means the city could step in, as it did with December’s Christmas parade on Columbia Street.

That endeavour came together in a few weeks, said Puchmayr, but “that’s not our desire to continue to do these projects.”

The doubt about the Hyack parade is causing concern for the organizers of the Uptown Live festival. In previous years, it immediately followed the parade, capitalizing on crowds already in Uptown.

“If there isn’t a parade, we’ll have to pick a different date,” said Bart Slotman, president of the Uptown Business Association. “We’d move it into the summer with a greater probability of good weather.”

Slotman said the first two editions of Uptown Live were a good fit with the Hyack parade and its ready crowds of people. But it also created challenges to set up the stages and entertainment areas quickly and safely before people wandered off.

“It’s a pro and it’s a con,” said Slotman, who hopes the festival will be able to on day stand on its own anyway.

Coun. Bill Harper said the audit of Hyack’s finances is taking longer than he anticipated, but he’s adamant the Hyack parade will go on.

“We’re not going to start cancelling parades in this city,” said Harper. “It’s a big event in the city. It’s a valuable piece to the business of the city.”

Hyack’s troubles started last summer with the termination of Douglas Smith as executive director. This dovetailed with a city review of how it funds groups organizing events in New West, said Puchmayr.

“People are now looking at it and saying maybe there is a different way of doing it,” said Puchmayr. “Maybe Hyack was biting off a bit too much. Maybe we should take that money and distribute it farther and wider to give us better bang for the buck.”

 

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