Dharm Makwana of 24 Hours picked up on our story and managed to get the Premier to comment.
The wheels have fallen off Premier Gordon Campbell’s favourite community event. The Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce backed out of running the neighbourhood’s celebrated soapbox derby for its 18th year, opening the door for the makers of Red Bull energy drink to re-brand the kid-friendly day as an adult-oriented attraction scheduled for September.
“It’s a real shame,” said Campbell, MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey. “I can’t think of how many years I’ve had the opportunity to see the events. That’s all going to be lost, and the whole community loses when that happens.”
Red Bull marketing director Michael Cornwell said Kits Chamber of Commerce embraced the company’s plans to run a derby, distinct from previous years with a minimum age requirement of 19 and a tougher course, despite any commitment to continue running the event in the future. “We might do an event for one or two years and then not do it the following year,” he said.
Chamber executive director Terry Clark said the burden on volunteers made the race difficult to run. “Can you imagine volunteers getting up at 5:30 in the morning, and standing out there, and unloading bails of hay off a truck, and then putting them back on?” he said.
Campbell, who thanked volunteers and parents for years of commitment, considers their effort a price worth paying. “This is a sporting event that’s second to none.”
I have a feeling the volunteers aren’t the issue this time around – they were all smiling last year.
Last modified: May 7, 2008