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City hall red tape puts Vancouver little league tradition at risk of cancellation

The organizers of a decades-old Vancouver little league tradition say their 2022 event could be scrapped due to government red tape.

The Kitsilano Little League Parade has marked the start of the baseball season for 60 years with a 30-minute march down West 41st Avenue to Elm Park.

Traditionally organizers have submitted their permit paperwork early in the New Year for the April 30 parade, but this year were surprised to hear they should have applied months earlier.

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“We were initially told just ‘No,’ it could not happen,” 23-year volunteer parade marshal Michael Jagger told Global News.

“There’s a much longer lead time to get applications in and a much more bureaucratic process, it would appear, with many more levels of approvals and reports that need to be put together.”

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Jagger said he’s been led to understand that there have been changes at both the city and provincial level that have drowned the application in red tape.

He said coming out of the pandemic officials at all levels should be prepared to be flexible.

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He also argued that a small community event like this should not be subject to the same complex regulations applied to a disruptive, major event like the Santa Claus parade.

“The role of the government should really be to look for opportunities to make things easier, especially community events like this one on the tail end of a pandemic,” he said.

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“These are the things that make the community great and strong.”

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Despite the early rejection, it appears the parade may not have struck out quite yet.

An article about the parade’s woes in the Vancouver Sun drew a Twitter response from Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart who pledged to be “working hard to expedite timelines.”

On Friday Stewart also issued a statement Friday saying “timelines outlined in our event policies are targets, not hard and fast.”

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“I have heard directly from many community groups concerned about permitting timelines not being rapid enough to support successful summer events, and I want them to know our staff are working to expedite applications,” Stewart said.

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“I have spoken with our City Manager who assures me staff are aiming to shorten timelines for upcoming events where needed, in recognition that the loosening of pandemic restrictions mean many groups are working quickly to get events up and running.”

Jagger said he met with city staff Friday and that he’s now cautiously optimistic the little league may get its traditional start after all.

“There’s still time to save the event, that’s why we are hopeful the city staff get it,” he said.

“This seems like a great example of something that has been vastly over complicated. Hopefully, there’s time to dial that back and fix this.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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