*News Post initially posted on Worldwide News By Sean Boynton and Rumina Daya
Critics of the enormous four/20 celebrations in Vancouver are getting blunt: organizers have to have to start out paying their personal way.
That is immediately after a leaked memo from Vancouver city employees to council showed the final two pro-marijuana bashes held at Sunset Beach expense taxpayers much more than $583,000.
The memo, which was sent on July 13, 2018, breaks down the expenses incurred by the city, the Vancouver Park Board, and the Vancouver Police Division in 2017 and 2018 prior to, in the course of and immediately after the unsanctioned occasion, which is set to return to Sunset Beach this April regardless of the city’s objections.
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The lion’s share of these expenses went to policing: $127,245 was spent in 2017, though the following year the expense went up additional to $139,699.
That is on prime of further expenses for officers to set up outdoors the Vancouver Art Gallery, exactly where protesters initially held the occasion for years as a pro-legalization rally prior to moving to Sunset Beach in 2017. Combined, $88,393 was spent more than the previous two years there.
The Vancouver Park Board has billed organizers $64,870 for their share of the expenses, though the city has invoiced them a total of $170,796.
Organizers of the occasion say they’ve paid the Park Board expenses, but add they shouldn’t be on the hook for policing due to the fact they take into account themselves to be a protest.
“Protests do not spend for policing expenses,” organizer Dana Larsen stated. “The thought that you cannot hold a protest in Vancouver unless you give a large quantity of cash to the police sort of goes against the thought of a democracy.”
But critics say calling the occasion a protest does not stand up to scrutiny.
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“Protests do not have booths,” Kris Sims with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation stated. “They do not have commerce tents, they do not sell t-shirts, they do not have cookies for sale.
“This is a festival, and it must be treated as a festival, and by that I imply taxpayers must not be footing the bill for this.”
According to the memo, there had been 482 vendor tents at the 2018 occasion. An earlier version of the four/20 site showed 270 of these had been paid for at either $500 or $750 per tent. These sales would have brought in much more than $160,000 to organizers.
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Larsen stated that cash went towards paying the Park Board and the city, and that he basically loses cash by organizing the occasion.
“4/20 loses me cash each and every year,” he stated. “We spent tens of thousands of dollars ourselves on safety, on initially help solutions, on emergencies. We spent a lot of cash to make this occasion secure for the attendees and the neighborhood.
“The only way we can raise that cash is by promoting booth space.”
Study Additional: Sunset Beach Park to be closed up to 10 weeks to repair harm following Vancouver four/20 occasion
Final year’s occasion forced the park board to close Sunset Beach for 10 weeks to repair the harm brought on by the occasion, which saw 40,000 men and women pack the region.
The harm and the expenses incurred by the park board and the city has sparked debate more than the future of the occasion.
Final month, the park board authorized a motion to appear for a new web page. Vancouver city council is in the midst of thinking of its personal motion supporting the selection, which would direct city employees to discover a new venue.
— With files from Simon Tiny