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Council approves Festivals Burnaby new grant application process

The new changes aim to improve and simplify the application process

During its Dec. 6 meeting, the Executive Committee of Council approved a new Festivals Burnaby grant application process, which will be in effect starting this year. The new process aims to reduce administrative or bureaucratic requirements for grant applications. Updates include reducing the number of application forms from three forms to one form for all applicants and clarifications regarding the types of events eligible for funding, among other changes

“We have been speaking about the fact that there may be some changes, some additions we can make, to make the application a little easier to clarify it to people who apply to Burnaby Festivals. So this policy is an improvement to the previous ones and clarifies some of the questions that have been raised over the years,” Coun. Sav Dhaliwal said at the meeting. 

During the meeting, Coun. Pietro Calendino expressed concern about the presence of “community health services” among the organizations eligible for funding. 

Booths at SFU StreetFest! Photo: Lubna El Elaimy

“One thing that I can clarify is that sometimes the applicants that do come to us can be related to health, but their festival is around culture, so that’s what our policy and our guidelines speak about,” said Yvonne Chui, arts services manager at the city.

“It would have to relate to some special event festival they would be putting on for the community only. So they would have to be a non-profit or a registered charity, and if they weren’t, they would actually have to be able to partner with somebody who is,” she added. Chui also said the new updates would create fewer barriers for people to access funding since they do not need to be a non-profit organization but only partner with a bona fide non-profit. 

Calendino, however, was not convinced that this would solve the problem, adding, “I appreciate that, but I’m sure that once it is covered and they do have a pot of funding they will come to us for more.” 

For events to be eligible for Festivals Burnaby funding, they must be community-based, with a wide range of activities. For example, an event with musical performances, a market, food trucks, and other activities would qualify for funding. Festivals Burnaby grants provide up to $25,000 in funding. Some notable festivals include SFU StreetFest! and Burnaby’s Canada Day StreetFest

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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