Faber Drive performs during last year's Party in the Park.

Chilliwack agrees to cover any Party in the Park shortfall

BIA officials submitted a request for more than $8000 in additional funding for a total of $16,000 for 2013

City council agreed to cover any shortfall the Downtown Chilliwack BIA might incur this summer from Party in the Park, up to a total of $8,800.

But several councillors at Tuesday’s council meeting noted with some dismay that PITP costs are rising, and suggested going back to hiring more local talent to keep expenses down.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz called herself an “absolute fan” of the popular Friday night events in Central Community Park.

PITP attracts thousands of people for eight weeks in a row in July and August.

“It’s one of the best things that’s happened to our community,” said Gaetz.

“But the amount being asked for is very high.”

The mayor admitted she didn’t want to see the plug pulled on PITP this year, but said how council funds community events is a discussion they need to have.

BIA officials submitted a request for more than $8000 in additional funding for a total of $16,000 for 2013, according to the staff report. The downtown merchants’ group already had $7,000 approved for 2013.

The funds would cover costs like an extra port-a-potty, $2,000, and sound and stage expenses of more than $5,000, and more.

“I think PITP is a great event, and I’ve been happy to see it grow,” said Coun. Sue Attrill. “The one concern I have is that it is a really significant increase.”

She noted the entertainment budget went from $10,000 to more than double, and suggested more use of the local talent.

“We are showcasing our community and people really love Party in the Park,” Attrill said. “We would still see value if we focused on local talent.”

Coun. Steward McLean said he agreed with Attrill.

“There seems to be a process of bringing in entertainers from outside our community. I think the real focus should be on our community,” he said.

Last year the Downtown Chilliwack BIA received $7,000 in CDI funding from City of Chilliwack for PITP, which was up $2,000 from the year before, due to rising costs.

About a whopping 30,000 revellers took in the Party in the Park (PITP) excitement in 2013.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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