New Santa parade organizer being sought

Chilliwack to decide its next step in search for a new host for the popular downtown parade.

Once again the host chair is empty for the Chilliwack Christmas Parade.

StarFM has told city officials that it won’t be organizing the downtown parade for 2012.

The local radio station took on the hosting duties for the first time last year after a successful a request for proposals (RFP) bid.

Downtown Chilliwack BIA coordinated the popular Santa parade from 1999 to 2010, funded under the Community Development Initiatives program.

Council will vote on whether to issue a new RFP on Tuesday, according to a staff report in the council agenda package.

“Although StarFM hosted a very successful event in 2011, they informed the City in early 2012 that they would not be hosting the 2012 event citing that it is challenging to dedicate the financial and staff resources needed while still operating a business,” reads the staff report. “In addition to the City funding, StarFM  invested approximately an additional $8,000 in cash and contra services and needed to mobilize most of their staff on event day.”

Coun. Chuck Stam said the news is “confirmation” of what they had been told by BIA officials for years, that the parade coordination was a huge undertaking.

“We appreciate that StarFM took it on for one year and the amazing job that they did with it,” he said.

The city councillor described the Christmas parade is a “heritage event” for Chilliwack.

“It kicks off the Christmas season for the community, and gathers everyone together.”

Stam is optimistic given the community service oriented nature of Chilliwack in general.

“It’s a lot of work, but most events of that nature are,” he said.

“It’s also an opportunity.”

In past years, the city contributed about $7,000 annually in CDI funding to support the parade.