Possible change coming for Hyack funding formula

City council could return to a past practice of committing funding to the Hyack Festival Association on a long-term basis instead of annually. But there could be a catch.

During his presentation on the association’s activities in the past year, executive director Douglas Smith told council it is difficult to plan when the society doesn’t know how much money it has to work with from the city.

Coun. Jonathan Coté said he is open to the concept of a long-term contract over several years, but only if both parties stick to the agreement. He said the relationship in the past has fallen apart because the festival association would make requests for additional funding while the deal was still in effect.

“You can’t keep coming back asking for more after an agreement is made,” Coté told Smith.

Smith said since he came on board last year, the association has consolidated the number of events it puts on while developing signature events for the city.

“Communities are increasingly defining themselves with celebratory events,” said Smith. “You can use major events to build a city brand, and I think we’re doing a good job of that.”

He said Hyack would like to take advantage of Westminster Pier Park and also establish a Canada Day celebration.

Coun. Chuck Puchmayr played devil’s advocate, saying the city needs to analyze what it gets out of its contribution.

“I love the energy, excitement and wanting to make things bigger and better. But there’s a cost to that,” said Puchmayr. “I’d like to have a survey to see what people really think about what we do with Hyack … I’m hearing more and more from people out there that they want us to be more responsible with what we do here.”

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