Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Special Events Society make note of some of the challenges of relocation plans for City Council

Bev Kilberry and Joy Sundin recounted some of the challenges that
the Special Events Organization is finding after being asked to
find new office accommodation away fro City Hall

With the organization that puts together the four large community festivals in Prince Rupert being asked by the City to move out of their offices in the basement at City Hall, two members of the Special Events Society appeared at Council on Monday night to outline some of the frustrations and challenges that they are finding in meeting that request.

It appears that the need for more space for city operations is behind the request to move and on Monday Bev Kilberry and Joy Sundin, two long serving members of the Society outlined for Council how the new requirement to pay for rent will have an impact on some of the planning for festivals.

Ms. Kilberry delivered the majority of the commentary observing as to how that has been a bit of a challenge to find a new facility that will fit the needs of the Special Events Society and how the cost of rent that they will be looking to pay will take away from the work they do towards planning the four community festivals.

With a potential rental price of $16,000 to $24,000 per year, she noted how that is not something that they have readily available, while also observing that it's preferable for the Society to remain in the downtown core as that is where the focus for their festivals in the community.

The pair inquired as to what City Council thinks towards providing some more assistance in finding a new accommodation, as well as to note their need for some secure storage for the many items that they have on hand towards community festivals.

For his part, Mayor Brain observed as to how City Staff had been working fairly diligently trying to find new locations, which Ms. Kilberry acknowledged, though she observed that so far the locations haven't quite met what they are looking for.

Mr. Brain followed up by making note of some of the meetings that are ahead in the days to come to try and resolve the location issue and how city staff was still engaged in the process.

He also noted how Council does not get involved in the administration of buildings and such, but that they are working to make sure that Special Events is in a proper long term location and how Council supported the Society in their work.

"I would definitely say that we absolutely support the Special Events Society, I can't speak for Council yet, but we obviously have a grant application on our desk today and the recommendation is for a significant increase for the Special Events and we will discuss that at our regular meeting today.  And I think that will also be helpful, if approved ... that will hopefully be extra support for you guys as well this year. Because we recognize that there are certain organizations that certainly need some extra support and what you do for the community ... we could never lose that kind of service here. -- Mayor Lee Brain speaking on funding for Special Events

Ms. Sundin made note of the ongoing efforts to bring in new members to share some of the work, noting how Special Events is an extension of the Civic government and asked for their feedback on what they would like to see for festivals in the city.

Both members also noted that like the golf Course had requested earlier in the evening, that they believe a liaison position might be a workable way of developing the partnership further with the city.

There was also a bit of discussion on how to approach the day of the festivals and what elements can be put in place to continue with the familiar themes of the events. 

Mayor Brain also urged them to continue to work with City Staff to try to resolve the situation and find a solution to their concerns.

Their timing for an appearance worked out well, with City Council reviewing the Community Enhancement Grant process on Monday.

And from this years distribution some good news has been delivered to the Special Events Society, with the two members on hand to hear of an additional  $13,00 in funding to be in place for 2020, though a number that was still $5,000 short of their request.

The Special Events Office also receives $12,000 from in-kind funding from the City.

You can review some of the concerns from the Special Events Society through the City's Video Archive, with the conversation starting at the 22 minute mark.

For more items of note related to Monday's Council session see our Council Timeline Feature.

A wider overview of City Council discussion themes can be found from our Council Archive page here.

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