NEWS

Gregor Robertson won't attend 'Om the Bridge' as yoga backlash grows

06/11/2015 08:44 EDT | Updated 06/11/2016 05:59 EDT
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson will attend National Aboriginal Day celebrations on June 21 and not the International Day of Yoga event on the Burrard Bridge.

Confirmation that Robertson will not be present at the "Om the Bridge" event followed speculation surrounding the city's connection to the Lululemon and Altagas-sponsored yoga class after no one representing the municipality attended last Friday's announcement.

As the backlash to the event continued to grow Thursday, a spokesperson from the city said that the permit to close down the bridge was approved as part of the regular special events process.

The government is spending $150,000 on the event, with $70,000 of that going toward policing and other security. Altagas is donating $10,000 and other sponsors are providing in kind contributions.

Since Friday's announcement, outcry has risen over the cost, the closure of the bridge for several hours and the perceived snub of the aboriginal celebrations.

Earlier today, the premier responded to those she called 'yoga haters' on Twitter, causing more uproar.

"That was a bit of humour," she said afterward. "A bit of self-deprecating humour. Did you get it?"

But not everyone thinks this is a subject that deserves to be dismissed with a joke.

"I just find it sort of a slap in the face that she doesn't even recognize National Aboriginal Day," Christine Brett from the Nuxalk First Nation told CBC News.

Brett said that protests both at the Burrard Bridge and in Victoria are being planned.

But YYoga founder — and event sponsor — Terry McBride told CBC's On The Coast he's surprised that people are being so critical.

"I was not anticipating that. It's definitely social media-driven, he said. "I think it's people that don't have the facts. The bridge is getting closed between 4 a.m. and 11 a.m., which is the slowest period throughout the whole week. This is not going to inconvenience anybody."

As for the cultural insensitivity raised over the timing, McBride said he didn't understand the concern.

"I don't know why one can't celebrate two great things at the same time.… I don't see how disrespecting one thing helps another."

MORE:cbcNews