City denies fall fair grant request

Group had wanted $5,000 to cover cost of banners to promote event

THE SKEENA Valley Fall Fair is preparing to make a comeback this year but it won’t be getting financial help from the City of Terrace.

This year’s event organizers asked the city to donate $5,093.76 to cover the cost of banners for advertising, also asking that the city help hang and remove banners.

The request was first sent to city staff who reccomended last night that council donate $1,000 instead, but council denied the request altogether. The key question raised was, how much responsibility does the city really have in helping pay for community events?

Anything more than $1,000 wasn’t seen by staff to be affordable to the city, explained the city’s interim chief administrative officer Heather Avison to council, adding the figure was presented as a baseline for discussion.

The staff reccomendation added that hanging and removng banners would come at an additional cost to the city as it would be contracted out for up to $1,500.

Money to pay for it would have to come from an account the city has set aside for discretionary spending which currently holds $11,200. But the city wants to spend $7,000 of that on a forum this fall.

Council does have money for grants to community groups and events but that’s in a budget established when council sets out its spending plans for the year, noted councillor Bruce Bidgood.

Should the council agree to give $1,000 to the fair, it should also give information on the grant application process for next year.

Councillor Lynne Christiansen was hesitant.

“I’m certainly not in favour of giving more than $1,000,” she said, noting that it’s not the city’s responsibility to fund community events.

Bidgood agreed.

“I share your concern about funding every event that comes forward,” he said.

Councillor Marylin Davies agreed, saying that paying money for events like this could discourage fundraising efforts.

She added that since the event is planned for Thornhill, the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine could be an option.

Councillor Stacey Tyers added that many events happen without help from the city.

“Events are really good community builders,” she said. ” (But) I don’t think you need money from the city to make it happen.

In the end, the initial request for money and subsequent staff recomendation were defeated 4-3 with councillors James Cordeiro, Tyers, Davies and mayor Dave Pernarowski in opposition.