May 26th, 2017

Committee suggests local Canada Day boost


By Collin Gallant on February 1, 2017.


cgallant@medicinehatnews.com
@CollinGallant

With 150 days until Canada marks its 150th birthday, a council committee is recommending extra cash be spread through to a number of local festivals to help with celebrations.

Monday’s meeting of the public services committee heard that administrators had been contemplating ways to boost local profile of the sesquicentennial celebrations.

They recommend using $30,000 from council’s contingency budget to help bolster events leading up to and including Canada Day.

“In my mind it would be one group, but in a way it’s better to have it more spread out and staggered leading up,” said committee chair Coun. Julie Friesen.

Five local groups would receive $6,000 each to help incorporate the anniversary into their activities.

Spectrum and JazzFest, both held in June, as well as Canada Day Society, which stages the July 1 events in Kin Coulee, would see the extra funds.

The Tongue on the Post folk music festival, which concluded its 2017 event last week, might also be able to add some event in the lead-up, administrators said.

As well, Medalta Potteries would be eligible.

“We’ve had preliminary discussions with groups,” said Howard Snodgrass, general manager of community development. “They are quite excited.”

Commissioner Karen Charlton said the groups were selected as they have a strong working relationship with the city.

Mayor Ted Clugston attended the committee meeting and supported the idea, though the amount of spending might be an issue, he said.

“The fireworks alone cost $30,000, so I’m not sure how far $6,000 will go,” said Clugston. “I’m wondering if it’s enough.”

The Canada Day Society made its 2017 request to the committee in early January asking only for the city to arrange office space that has since been offered in the private sector.

Officials at that time said fundraising was always a chief concern, but were confident they could put together a fitting celebration.

Longtime Spectrum organizer Lorraine Dalla Longa said the board overseeing the annual early June event just learned of the extra outlay and would decide how best to use it at a mid-February board meeting.

“We’ll put our thinking caps on,” she told the News. “We were hoping to do something (related to Canada 150) anyway, but we’ll have to confirm what that will be.”

The City’s Esplanade Art Gallery and Heritage Centre will also stage special Canada 150 programming, the committee heard. Some promotion of the festival components will be handled by the city’s community development department.

Current finance figures are not available, but several years ago the News reported that the Canada Day Society received $25,000 in cash and services from the City of Medicine Hat. Other large cash support came from Heritage Canada, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Service Canada.


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