The city has seen a record number of film shoots in 2018, including a recent Christmas TV movie that was shot near city hall.  Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

The city has seen a record number of film shoots in 2018, including a recent Christmas TV movie that was shot near city hall. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford considering need for film liaison

Position would be funded by producers and tasked with helping address community concerns

With film activity in Abbotsford at an all-time high, plans are afoot to enlist a middle-man to address concerns that crop up during such productions.

The city, film producers and Creative BC – the provincial organization that supports the industry – have discussed the appointment of a film liaison who could serve as a go-between when businesses and residents have an issue with a production. Such a position would be financed by the film producers.

A spokesperson said in a statement that preliminary conversations have been ongoing, but staffers told the committee on Tuesday that the person who would fill the role has already been identified.

The goal is to stay ahead of any problems caused by increased filming. The city has already issued a record 51 film permits this year. And although producers are heading to a range of locations, the historic downtown and Clayburn Village continue to see frequent shoots.

In 2016, Maple Ridge temporarily stopped issuing film permits for its downtown due to concerns about parking and traffic. That city started allowing filming again this year, with a film liaison tasked with ensuring harmony.

Wendy Dupley, the executive director of the city’s economic development department, said the liaison “will be a point person on the ground” and tasked with ensuring productions have all necessary permits and are following the rules as laid out by the city.

The hire comes after three years of increased filming activity in Abbotsford. Not only have more films been shot here this year, but they’re also spending considerably more in Abbotsford, according to data collected by the city.

So far in 2018, productions have reported spending more than $1.2 million in the community. That’s a 45 per cent increase from the $882,000 spent last year.

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