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Fraser Valley Pride event comes to Mission after dispute with City of Abbotsford

Event leaves Abbotsford after 9 years; organizers cite ‘last-minute’ venue change
A photo of the sixth annual Fraser Valley Pride celebration at Jubilee Park. (Abbotsford News file photo)

After nine years in Abbotsford, Fraser Valley Pride’s annual event is coming to Mission.

The board of directors at Fraser Valley Youth Society (FVYS) made the decision after the City of Abbotsford made a last-minute venue change, leading to a dispute, according to a June 8 press release.

“We are saddened by the last-minute changes brought forward by the city and the lack of concern shown for the need for a safe space to hold our event,” said the FVYS release.

It says organizers were informed by city staff their venue at Jubilee Park was no longer available on May 5.

President Lisa Doerksen said the city broke their contract after booking, confirming, and cashing FVYS’s cheque.

The release says they tried to work with city staff to address the needs of the pride event, but that “no workable solutions came forward.”

FVYS has worked to make Jubilee Park a safe place for the event over the years, according to the release, and the alternative locations offered were not safe or suitable, noting their concerns were not being heard.

The event will now take place in Mission’s Fraser River Heritage Park on July 16.

“We look forward to the new adventure at Mission’s Heritage Park, thanks to the support and partnership with the City of Mission,” said Executive Director Pierre Richez.

FVYS says they understand the change is a surprise, and could affect participants, vendors and entertainers’ ability to attend.

“Event organizers are doing everything they can to address these needs so that we can offer an event that is inclusive and accessible to all those in our 2SLGBTQIA+ community.”

The City of Abbotsford said in an email the event has outgrown the capacity of Jubilee Park causing safety issues, but Mill Lake Park and Civic Plaza were offered as alternative locations.

“The City of Abbotsford is saddened that the Fraser Valley Youth Society has chosen to move their event to another community,” the email said.

“The City of Abbotsford respects their decision to choose an alternate location to best meet their needs.”

PHOTOS (2019): Fraser Valley Pride Celebration kicks off in Mission


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