UPDATED: Hyack may sue former pageant organizer

The Hyack Festival Association has threatened to sue the woman who once ran their ambassador program and now wants to start her own.

A letter to the mayor and city councillors states Hyack has “virtually no choice” but to sue Lynn Radbourne for her “very ill thought out course of action.”

Radbourne was dismissed from her role with Hyack last October.

Her husband, former Hyack president Bill Radbourne, was part of a group that had a falling out with the Hyack executive.

Last week Lynn Radbourne asked city council for its endorsement of a new ambassador program that includes both young men and women.

Radbourne, who managed Hyack's ambassador program from 1996-2002 and then from 2011 until her dismissal, said Goodwin's threat to sue feels "like a personal vendetta" for her husband's disagreement with the organization.

She was also adamant her ambassador program "is not in competition with Hyack. This is an alternate program."

Its focus would be “mentorship, teamwork and volunteering while representing New Westminster to other communities.”

The new program wouldn’t be a “pageant, but a process,” said Radbourne.

She said the ambassadors would learn public speaking and the history of New West.

They could then represent the city at events around Metro Vancouver, the Interior and Vancouver Island.

She anticipated they’d travel to six out-of-town functions a year.

Some councillors expressed concerns about the similarities between her proposal and the Hyack program.

Radbourne said “there won’t be a Miss New Westminster or Mr. New Westminster, they’ll work as a team.”

She said while Hyack ambassadors mainly ride on the Hyack float at parades around the Pacific Northwest, her city ambassadors will attend civic functions to talk about New West.

That distinction doesn’t sit well with Goodwin. He said Radbourne’s plan is based on Hyack’s “confidential proprietary materials and information” like manuals, correspondence and sponsorship lists.

He said Radbourne did not heed Hyack’s request to return those materials when she was fired.

But Radbourne said she has no such materials, other than a personal collection of souvenir programs.

"There's nothing proprietary in them," she said.

Radbourne told council she got the idea for her program after attending a city council meeting with Hyack ambassadors and realizing none of them really knew how city government worked.

“I want to be able to give something back to the city and to its youth,” she said.

Council referred Radbourne’s request for its endorsement to staff for further review.


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