Willie Dye speaks to city council Tuesday, Feb. 7, about the Stampede Parade. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo -Williams Lake Tribune)

Willie Dye speaks to city council Tuesday, Feb. 7, about the Stampede Parade. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo -Williams Lake Tribune)

City, Willie Dye explore options for him to organize Williams Lake Stampede Parade

Dye’s fee-for-service application denied because parade committee is not a non-profit society

Willie Dye is eager to organize the Williams Lake Stampede Parade for the second year in a row, despite admitting he was angry at city council earlier this week.

During the regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 7, Dye told council he was upset to learn from a Tribune newspaper article that council had recommended during a committee of the whole (COW) meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31 to deny his fee-for-service application to run the parade.

“I was proud of the parade and I thought I did a good job,” he said. “It is an event that really is the soul of the city. I have been trying ever since last July to make sure I had money arranged so I could go forth and start making things happen.”

Last year Dye stepped up to organize the parade and city council approved a $15,000 grant to help cover costs.

For 2023, Dye applied for parade funding through a fee-for-service agreement, which he planned to supplement with donations from the community.

“What really annoyed me about this whole damn thing is I asked on a number of occasions and was told council will get back to me – and all of a sudden I read about it in the newspaper.”

Council received a report from staff at last week’s COW meeting recommending Dye’s application be denied because the city’s fee-for-service agreements are made with registered non-profit societies, which the Stampede Parade committee is not. The report also noted there were no financial documents provided from the 2022 parade.

After deciding in favour of the denial, council then made a subsequent recommendation to approve a budget of $10,000 to support the parade and direct staff to put out an expression of interest for a community group to host it.

Mayor Surinderpal Rathor said at the time he wanted Dye to organize the parade and hoped he would apply. Coun. Angie Delainey suggested perhaps Dye could find a non-profit organization to work with.

Both recommendations were brought forward to the regular meeting, Feb. 7 for final approval.

Coun. Scott Nelson was not at the COW meeting but attended the regular meeting by zoom.

He said he would not be supporting the recommendation to deny Dye’s fee-for-service application.

“I’m dismayed from a political perspective that the mayor and the finance chair have not picked up the phone to phone Willie and say, ‘hey, the recommendation is in front of the community,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be better that we call Willie up and say, ‘we want to work with your group, we want you to become a non-profit organization.”

Nelson said it was “nothing but a bunch of red tape” and he wanted to “publicly apologize to Willie Dye” for having it come forward.

Delainey said approving the fee-for-service agreement would go against policy and not look well for all the other fee-for-service agreements.

Finance committee chair Coun. Joan Flaspohler said the expression of interest was intended to make it feasible for a group within the community to put on the parade without it having to be under the fee-for-service title.

Coun. Michael Moses praised the work Dye and the volunteers did to put on the parade as did all the other council members.

“What we are doing here is not to directly take it away from them but make sure the city’s policies and bylaws are followed that we already have in place,” Moses said.

Coun. Sheila Boehm said she agreed with the expression of interest.

“We did the best we could,” Boehm said. “I don’t think there was any discussion that Willie didn’t do a great job and we are hoping he does apply.”

The mayor apologized to Dye that no one had contacted him earlier, asked for his phone number and said staff would be contacting him.

After the meeting, Dye said it looked like some misunderstandings were cleared up and there was a possibility of coming up with an arrangement.

“It’s water under the bridge. If we get all that done, I will organize a parade.”

He also said if there was financial information missing in his application he would have provided if if asked.

“I’m not trying to hide anything.”

During the meeting Dye asked council if Williams Lake Community Policing might be a non-profit he could partner with, but added he would not want to jeopardize any of the work they are doing.

He told the Tribune he hadn’t thought of working with community policing for the parade, but would be very comfortable if that is what happens.


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