GAY PARADE DEBATE CONTINUES
Posted below is an email, I received from a prominant member of the gay community. I think Mike sums up best what is actually going on with the parade route. Please email councilors firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and express your concern.
Hi Jamie Lee:
I certainly agree with you that there should be some better (if any at all) community input on this issue. What leaves me scratching my head is if a copy of the press release was sent to Xtra West BEFORE they went to print, or after. Since the paper comes out tomorrow, it may be that they have had a chance to cover it. On the other hand, the timing of the release may be such that they just missed the deadline, and this information on the route change will not get out to the community for another 2 weeks, which in my books is a pretty crafty way of getting around community input.
Curious that the release is dated the 21st . . .
I want to wait to see what happens on that front before I comment publicly on the route itself, and I would like to also know what the real reason for the route change would be -- I suspect it's either that Pride wants the revenue from the beer garden, or a move to make us a bit more invisible in the prime of tourist season (perhaps requested by some civic authorities?). I really don't know the insider info on this.
I certainly don't buy the "wheelchair" argument - sidewalks are wheelchair accessible anyway, and if they wanted to do something for people in chairs, they could rope off a section of the route for them specifically. In fact, they should have done that ages ago, anyway.
As to the insult to community history, I do feel that the West End (and Yaletown, for that matter) are both sufficiently queerified that one or the other does not matter. What is of more concern is the fact that the new route, with the exception of the blocks between Drake and Cambie are primarily industrial or construction, and not residential. There are no merchants to support the crowd needs (food, seating, toilets, baby changing areas, and so on), and if the weather is yucky, not much shelter either. The Denman and Davie merchants depend on revenues from the parade watchers, and I think it is an insult to them to move it after all these years of support.
Additionally, if the real concern is that there is not enough room for the crowds, it would make more sense to lengthen the parade route, by starting it further north - i.e. at Georgia, and block off part of the east bound part of the exit from the park for set-up and so on. Alternatively, it could start IN the park, and then work its way along Georgia and then onto Denman.
Just a few thoughts for now - I'll stay in touch