Funding issue stalls diversity celebration in Powell River

Annual cultural event cancelled for 2019

Powell River’s Celebration of Cultural Diversity will not be proceeding in 2019.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, October 26, this year’s event, which would have been the ninth, has been cancelled due to a funding issue.

“It’s unfortunate but the committee had to make a hard call and we had to decide to wait until next year,” said Kelly Henderson, manager of Powell River Immigrant Services, one of the sponsors of the event.

The Celebration of Cultural Diversity has been funded in the past through grants. Henderson said there has been a delay in confirmation from a significant granting source and the committee that organizes the celebration chose not to take the risk of proceeding.

“We are not going to find out in time and so it was just a big risk to take,” said Henderson. “I wouldn’t want to say we’ve lost that source of funding, we just don’t know that we have the money in hand.”

The event is a partnership with Powell River Council for Arts and Culture, which provides the venue, a huge piece according to Henderson, and a grant as well. City of Powell River is also a partner, as is Powell River Immigrant Services, and also the Powell River Diversity Initiative. Henderson said they have all been partners since the first year of the celebration.

“There are a lot of people involved and we’ve been so lucky, with more than 100 volunteers every year to make it happen,” said Henderson. “It’s just a timing thing. We feel confident about funding in the future. There’s not anything that’s changed as far as that goes. We feel the government will continue to support these kinds of events and initiatives that aim toward welcoming inclusive communities.”

Henderson said everyone is looking forward to having a Celebration of Cultural Diversity in future.

“We think it will be better than ever,” she said. “It’s grown every year, we love it and we are definitely not giving up on it. We think it’s an important event. This gives us more time to think about it.

“We’ve done eight years now so we might want to think about adding some new things. There’s some things we might do a little bit differently so that it’s enjoyable every year, so people keep wanting to show up and participate.”

Henderson said cancellation of this year’s event was a tough decision for the committee.

“We’ve been really lucky that the timing has fallen into place for the last eight years,” she added.

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