Vancouver’s first Formula E Race proposed for False Creek this summer has been called off.
One Stop Strategy (OSS) Group, the Montreal-based promoters organizing the Canadian E-Fest, said Friday the three-day festival has been “postponed until 2023.”
“It was a decision made between the organizers and the City of Vancouver,” according to the OSS Group. “The timeline and parameters for the event were not achievable.”
As of Friday afternoon, the event did not have a permit from the city.
In a statement, the City of Vancouver confirmed OSS Group had “elected to exercise its rights under the Host City Agreement to postpone the Formula E Event… to a future date.”
“The City and OSS Group will continue to work together and hope to announce a new date in the near future.”
The Canada Day long weekend festival — for which more than 30,000 tickets had been sold online, organizers said — was to include a live Nickelback concert, a business conference focused on climate change solutions, celebrity events and a headline Formula E electric car race.
“Arrangements will be made for those who purchased tickets,” the OSS Group said. “The process of the 2023 event is still being finalized by OSS and the city.”
The event was billed as a “major asset to Vancouver” and its mission was to “accelerate the change towards sustainability” as part of the Formula E electric series that hosts televised championship races in countries all over the world.
When city council discussed the prospect of E-Fest in April 2021, councilors and staff discussed the importance of ensuring Vancouver wasn’t financially on the hook. Costs were to be “borne by the organizer, and all city service costs to be recoverable from the organizer,” according to a motion from Couns. Sarah Kirby-Yung and Michael Wiebe, which was approved.
The event was expected to generate an estimated $80 million economic spinoff for the city’s tourism and hospitality industry and 3,000 jobs.
“One of our main missions is to work closely with the City of Vancouver and the False Creek residents to ensure this event is here to stay and that we leave a lasting legacy … be that charging stations, improvements to facilities or items of significant interest, ” Matthew Carter, CEO of OSS, said when announcing the venture last July.
Earlier this week, city hall confirmed to Postmedia it had received $350,000, the second installation of a security deposit from the OSS Group.
Organizers had a deadline of 11:59 pm Thursday to provide additional items before an event permit would be issued, including proof of insurance, a safety plan, outdoor concert licensing, and confirmation of private property agreements. It was unclear Friday which were turned in.
Postmedia had earlier learned a partner producing the business conference portion of the Canadian E-Fest event had abruptly pulled out, advising stakeholders in an email that “numerous issues” had made their involvement “untenable.”
The business conference, called E-Volve, was billed as “a transformative business and innovation conference … where top executives, global and local leaders, and market influencers shape the future of e-mobility, transportation and electrification.”
OSS Group had said it was producing the conference in partnership with the Globe Series, a Toronto-based company responsible for major events, including the Globe Forum climate and sustainability conference in Vancouver.
But on Wednesday, a representative of the Globe Series sent out an email to stakeholders advising they were pulling out.
“As a values-driven organization where honesty, integrity and transparency are key to who we are, we want to let you know that we are no longer supporting OSS Group (event producers) on delivering the E-Volve conference,” said the email , which was obtained by Postmedia.
“Numerous issues have made our involvement in this initiative with OSS untenable, and as a result we do not believe we can produce a high-quality event nor service our partners in the current time frame.”
The email went to say: “Despite this setback, we strongly believe that the Canadian E-Fest and the FIA Formula E World Championship race are not only important steps on the road to net zero, but represent an enormous opportunity for Vancouver, BC and Canada,” adding: “We would love to be involved in the future of the Canadian E-Fest/Formula E race should it be delayed/postponed and new leaders are put in place.”
A Globe spokesman confirmed to Postmedia the email was authentic, but said he could not discuss details of what led the company to back out.
In a statement Wednesday, the OSS Group said Formula E principals were in Vancouver all week to “understand the actual situation with the different suppliers, as well as meeting with city officials and other stakeholders for the delivery of the Vancouver E Prix.”
“Formula E is the governing body to the Vancouver E-Prix only, not for the E-Volve event or other ancillary events included in the Canadian E-Fest, and are here to ensure a world class motorsport event will be delivered to all who have, and will purchase tickets, to attend from Vancouver and internationally,” the statement said.
With files from John Mackie
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