Friday, February 8, 2013

They May Fly, with a little help from you and your friends...

The hopes for a Snowbirds show may not be quite extinguished yet, with word that while the  City is not at the moment inclined to fund aerial aerobatic shows for our entertainment and tourism potential, if some local groups, organizations and individuals wish to collect the cash required to put the even together, the show could go on.

The issue of civic funding for the Snowbirds came up at the January 14th City Council session, when Councillor Gina Garon spoke in favour of the city providing funding (15,000 to 20,000 dollars) to an ad hoc committee in the form of a Community Enhancement Grant, for a proposed show by the famed Royal Canadian Air Force demonstration squadron.

The Snowbirds, celebrating their 70th anniversary this year, had a previously scheduled appearance cancelled in 2011 owing to poor weather, they had hoped to make a return to Prince Rupert this year, having a space on their calendar to file a flight plan to the icy.

After a short discussion around the council chambers (see our timeline of Council for that night) the motion to approve the funding from Councillor Garon, seconded by Councillor Kinney was voted down. The majority of council deciding that having previously scaled back or turned down local community groups for their funding requests, they couldn't at this time and in the city's current financial situation, provide the requested grant to set the stage for the Snowbirds. (the council discussion can be found on the City's audio archive from the 51:45 to 1 hour five minute mark)

With that decision against the city participating with direct financing having been made, the prospects for a Snowbirds return seemed to have faded from the horizon.

However, this week as CFTK reports , the Mayor has floated the idea that perhaps local groups, organizations or individuals may wish to make donations towards staging such a show, with the City issuing tax receipts in recognition of their civic mindedness.

He outlined his thoughts on the topic in this interview on TV 7, hopeful that there will be a way to find the money locally to bring the air group here.

Most likely the Mayor is thinking that the usual large corporate groups in the city may wish to step in and save the day so to speak. The Port of Prince Rupert, Ridley Terminals and other local employers have in the past provided funding for community events or activities, it may be that he's hoping that one or more of them may provide the seed money to get the air show plan rolling.

The Snowbirds must be optimistic that locals will find a way to put together the financing, a look at their schedule for 2013 has a tentative date pencilled in for Prince Rupert on August 14th, whether they make the trek north from Abbotsford (where they will appear on August 11th) will depend on whether the community can raise the funds to put on the show.

Northern View-- City of Prince Rupert turns down funding request for Snowbirds show

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