Dragon Boat Festival Chail Jas Kalsi talks about importance of a boat house for dragon boats on False Creek to sponsors, politicians and dragon boat festival organizers.
The VIP tent was packed on the eve to the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival. Politicians and digniteries walked in from the eye-dotting ceremony conducted by Taoist priests. Parks Commissioner and former Gung Haggis dragon boat team paddler Stuart Mackinnon dotted one of the eyes with a paint brush.
Lots of great food was served in the VIP tent. Sockeye Salmon, Tuna on wild rice patties, corn chowder – all provided from the VCC culinary arts program.
But this year's VIP party also had a serious tone. On Tuesday, the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society had sent a letter to Vancouver City Council, stating that because of development on Falser Creek, the 21 year old festival was in jeopardy. Festival Chair Jas Kalsi talked about the issue to the audience.
VIP party was attended by Mayor Robertson, councilors Ellen Woodsworth,
Suzanne Anton, Raymond Louie, George Chow, and Andrea Reimer, as well
as Parks Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon, and Sen. Nancy Green Raine who said that the federal government will pledge $100,000 to the RTA Festival.
Robertson said he supports councilor Raymond Louie's statements,
that city council supports dragon boats on False Creek, and things are
moving through the planning stage. Robertson also shared that his son
is paddling in his first dragon boat race.
Terry Hui, CEO of Concord said that Concord is committed to the Festival.
See Concord's commitment in yesterday's 24 Hours story
Members of the Festival board
and Race Committee talked to the politicians. I also talked with
Concord Pacific's senior vice-president of planning – Matt Meehan, who wants to come to the next Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner, as he remembers seeing me perform at Jenny Kwan's scotch tasting parties.
I chatted with Mayor Robertson (who has attended the last 2
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinners), and he told me which team his son is paddling on. I informed him that his son was being coached by one of our Gung Haggis paddlers Gayle Gordon.
Dragon boat coach and former Olympic sprint kayak paddler, Kamini Jain, brought me 5 copies of the new dragon boat book “Paddles Up! Dragon Boat Racing in Canada.” You can bet that the other
paddlers/organizers/coaches were all jealous when they saw them. Kamini had written the chapter on coaching, and I had asked her to autograph copies for myself and my friends (Gayle and Stuart). And…. I was able to introduce Kamini to Sen. Nancy
Green Raine (former Olympic ski gold medalist) – just before Sen. Nancy
left the party.