Organizers say money raised wasn’t enough
By Patrick Vaillancourt, Senior Columnist
The City of Vancouver planned to host a public New Year’s Eve bash for the first time in over two decades, but plans for a party to ring in 2015 have officially been halted.
News broke on October 9 that organizers had cancelled the event, citing that they were unable to raise enough money from sponsorships by their October 1 deadline.
The cancellation of the event comes in the midst of a municipal election campaign, and has put incumbent Mayor Gregor Robertson on the spot after he made headlines in December 2013 announcing that the city would have a “family-friendly event” to ring-in 2015. Robertson is currently seeking a third term as Vancouver mayor in the upcoming November 15 elections.
The Vancouver New Year’s Eve Celebration Society, the non-profit group tasked with raising the money and organizing the event, is now looking toward putting on the event to ring in 2016.
“While we couldn’t pull the funding together in time for this year, we’re hopeful additional community and corporate supporters will come to the table with funding over the coming year,” said Charles Gauthier, chair of the society, in a public statement.
The event was to be held at Jack Poole Plaza, complete with musical acts, food trucks, the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, and a fireworks display.
The group managed to raise two-thirds of the money required to go ahead with the party, but says that they will not put on a celebration without having all of the $300,000 in funds they require. Gauthier believes that the celebration needs to be fully funded in order to present the event at its best.
“We just felt if we don’t do it well, it will be much more challenging in terms of attracting corporate sponsorship in ensuing years,” Gauthier told Metro News last week.
Gauthier downplayed the possibility of having the event this year even if the remaining funding were to come in, saying that planners would have had to book popular musical acts well in advance.
The city has been hounded by the public for years about New Year’s Eve festivities, especially since Vancouver prides itself on being a world-class destination for street festivals.
“Vancouver’s vibrant festivals, parades, and major events throughout the year are a highlight for locals and visitors alike, but there is a definite need for a significant family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration,” said Robertson in a release.
Vancouver residents will have to do their own event-planning for New Year’s Eve again this year, but may have a central place to congregate next year should the event go ahead. Planners are confident that they will secure all of the funding to make the event happen by the end of 2015.