VANCOUVER—The re-opening of the Pacific National Exhibition on August 21 is a big step toward recovery, but with limited attendance capacity and fewer attractions this year, short-term financial assistance of $8 million is still needed to help cover the residual pandemic debt.
CUPE 1004 is running radio and digital ads starting this week, to raise awareness of the PNE’s financial plight following 16 months of COVID-19.
“The B.C. government needs to invest now to maintain the jobs and economic benefits that the PNE brings for the long term,” said CUPE 1004 President Andrew Ledger.
Ledger said that the re-opening is welcomed by members. “Our members who work at the PNE are giving their all for the re-opening on August 21, but we can’t do it alone,” said Ledger. “Without help from government, the pandemic debt is likely to increase.”
Ledger said he hopes that the B.C. government will support the PNE so that it can take full advantage of the post-pandemic recovery of the Fair and Playland. CUPE 1004 has set up SaveThePNE.ca for the public to call on the B.C. government to provide emergency funding to the PNE.
The PNE pumps $200 million into B.C.’s economy, supports countless local businesses, and creates thousands of high-skilled jobs and youth employment. The PNE is also a major local employer, providing many Lower Mainland residents their first job. Besides the economic benefits, the PNE is a much-loved summer tradition in the Lower Mainland, enjoyed by all ages. It has been an important part of the community for more than a century.
CUPE 1004 is a multi-sector composite union local representing an array of public workers, including most of the employees at the PNE.