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Formula E organizers say event on-track despite missed deadlines at city hall

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Despite missed deadlines, city staff say they’re providing “reasonable leeway” with motorsport festival organizers to get the event running this summer.

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Organizers of Vancouver’s first Formula E car race, slated for this summer, missed a deadline Monday at Vancouver City Hall to provide documents required for a permit, but they say everything is coming soon and the event is on-track.

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City hall representatives said Tuesday that organizers of the inaugural Canadian E-Fest, an international electric car race and festival scheduled for Canada Day long weekend in northeast False Creek, didn’t submit all of the necessary documents that were due March 28, including proof-of-insurance. But city staff said they’re working with organizers and willing to grant an extension to get the event up-and-running.

“Operating upon city council direction to support and enable this event, city staff is providing some reasonable leeway concerning previously established deadlines,” Geoff Teoli, senior branch manager of Vancouver’s film and special events branch, told Postmedia News this week by email. “Should deliverable delays extend beyond a few weeks, staff will be consulting (city) council on the most appropriate path forward.

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“The city has not issued a new deadline for the insurance, rather if the delays extend more than a few weeks, staff will be consulting council,” Teoli said.

Council directed city staff in April 2021 to work with the One Stop Strategy Group (or the OSS Group), the Montreal-based promoters seeking to bring a weekend-long festival to Vancouver in July 2022, headlined by an electric car race as part of the international Formula E circuit along with other events, with “all city service costs to be recoverable from the organizer.”

In February 2022, the city signed a “host city agreement” with OSS Group, at which time OSS paid the first tranche of the security deposit, totalling $150,000, city hall said. The city now expects OSS Group to pay a second security deposit of $350,000 by this Friday, April 1.

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The city said several planning documents were due Monday, including proof-of insurance, a safety and security plan, traffic management plan and more. On Tuesday, Teoli said not all of the required documents had been provided, but “OSS has informed the city that most of the documentation required will be received by the city later this week.”

“Proof-of-insurance has not yet been received, however OSS management indicate it will be provided promptly,” Teoli said. “The city permit will be issued closer to the event date, when all of the requirements of the agreement have been met, and final logistical plans have been completed and approved.”

OSS Group CEO Matthew Carter said Tuesday that, despite some “little bumps in the road,” everything is on-track for a successful major festival starting this summer in Vancouver and continuing for years to come.

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Carter said the insurance provider will be Allianz, the global insurance giant that is an official partner of the international Formula E Championship.

“On insurance, we’ve been in constant contact with the city all the way through from Day 1. There’s a slight holdup because of everything that’s going on in Ukraine, that’s a worldwide thing,” Carter said, adding that the other pieces will also be submitted soon.

“It’s perfectly normal, especially in Year 1 of an event like this, but it’s an ongoing conversation. It’s a big event for the city, probably the biggest event since the Olympics, and it’s here for the next five years, so the city needs to be on-board with it and the city needs to understand the importance of it,” Carter said.

“We’ve sold over 33,000 tickets so far, everything’s going well. And it’s just there’s maybe a few little bumps in the road on the way to getting there. But, as I say, constant dialogue with the city is the way that we’re going to get this thing off.”

Canadian E-Fest has several events scheduled over Canada Day weekend, including a two-day conference, a July 1 concert by Nickelback, and the big race, the Vancouver E-Prix, on July 2.

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