Kinsmen Cornwall Lift Off 2011 Springing a Leak – Goes to City Hall to ask for $30K Loan – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig – April 20, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – The Lift Off Festival is going to City Council today; hat in hand, looking for $30K in loans.   It’s going to put some interesting pressure on council, but in the end I’d be sadly disappointed if these dollars are advanced.  There is no financial device that makes sense to such a loan; especially in an environment where businesses are closing and struggling and hundreds of local workers are losing their jobs.   There are no city loans for these people.

Lift Off founder and our former contractor Chris Savard stepped down as President this year to be replaced by Chamber of Commerce honcho Rick Shaver.

Mr. Shaver recently stepped down as President as well from Lift-Off .   From my last communications with the Lift Off team, who weren’t being very direct or clear, there’s a group effort going on now?

Last year Lift Off received in excess of $75K from the province.   This year that number has been reduced to a third.    They also lost $5K from the Cornwall Downtown DBIA.  Obviously there are some issues with the way this event is being managed by the close knit group doing so.

To me it’s about accountability and the role that any event or service does to this community.   Last year we were one of the media sponsors of the event and I can tell you that we were quite disappointed.  Not in the vision or potential for the event, but because of the way it was run.

I can tell you that as someone that’s ran over 200 events in my life you always treat your sponsors like gold, because they are.   To show drastic favoritism to any one generally does not lead to positive results.    Also you always have to remember your client, your customer; the person that pays for your product or service.  You have to have a vision for what you’re trying to accomplish and use every tool at your disposal to make those goals come true.

I think the issue is that in some places it’s the same people always in charge of the same things.   That can get stale and when you only work with your friends, with your “clique” generally there’s nobody to stop and tell you that maybe things can be done better.  It’s not unique to Cornwall or Lift Off.  It happens in many places; usually because nobody wants to do the unglamorous jobs and draft their friends in to help.

I personally have great hopes for the future of Lift Off, but I certainly hope that Mayor Kilger and City council do not write a cheque for $30K.

No, I think Lift Off this year needs to reorganize; throw as good a party as it can with their budget and come back to the public next year with a new team focused on making this event the success it truly should be.

Maybe some of those companies like Corus who received so much for so little last year can pony up a loan instead of the taxpayers of Cornwall?

What do you think Cornwall?  You can post your comments below.

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  1. wow seriously what happened to all the money they made over the years did chris savard runaway with it?

  2. The city needs so much, if we are going to borrow money, we still have no garbage control. we need to take care of people struggling doing two jobs to make ends meet and get more permanent jobs in Cornwall.

  3. With all the people who are out of work and who have trouble paying rent and buying food for their tables at this time, I think the Council would be advised to NOT write a cheque for $30,000 to this group.

  4. Good points Jamie
    Lest we forget companies such as Sigma Point, Advantech Advanced Manufacturing.

    I think you should publish an article calling all the local companies out on issues such as this. Set precedence and ask them to meet CFN/WFN donations and publicize the results.

    It is one thing to complain about dealing with the Cornwall clubs but if someone really cares about this they should call them into the open.

    As well to all of you who think this is a bad idea, a refresher in economic s in order. Most revenue is allotted to certain types of expenditure. If that format is breached we have the province which will refuse to provide future funding. It is referred to as misappropriation of funds.

    Now has it happened yep,

    Just take a look at Fitzpatrick’s salary, look at how the hospital is managed or $5,000 to attend Probert’s funeral.

    The balloon fest isn’t the problem, but the people associated and the timid not wanting to rock the boat

  5. Author

    I always feel odd when you and I sorta agree on something smee….

  6. Good Afternoon Jamie

    Here are some numbers that will make you shake your head.

    City In kind service anywhere between 20K to 30K dollars to set up, overtime and clean up the park.

    In kind service in the Police budget for security for this event is $ 10,000 in overtime which I requested to be cut at a Police budget but the Mayor refuse to support it.

    $ 10,000 given to the event out of the Economic Development budget.

    Council approving and additional $ 30,000 loan with no security.????? I’m not even sure if putting the taxpayers dollars at risk is even legal. I like to make it VERY CLEAR, I did not support the motion.

    TOTAL city tax dollars being used for this event….between $ 70.000 to $ 80,000.

    My question is why was council only advised at the 11 th hour of this request at a special meeting called today when the Mayor knew about it two months ago ??

    My only hope now is that we will have a full transparency in the dollars the City is putting out for this event.

    Do I believe it’s a good event…Yes, do I believe the city taxpayers should be asked to pay $70,000 to $ 80,000 dollars to support this event NOOOOOOOOO !!

    Councillor Andre Rivette

  7. Andre Rivette, now you know why Stephen Harper is building those huge megaprisons. It’s to put people away who do not support their constituents. Self-interest is rife in the Council, they represent only themselves and not us.

  8. Andre
    You seem to neglect to mention and revenue gained. How much must vendors pay for their space, how about the cost of tickets?

    Is there any revenue from the circus….

    I know it costs money but could you please inform us on the other end of the spectrum?

  9. I have attended Lift-Off with my family since we’ve been in the Cornwall area (2002). I think we may have missed one year. I remember when there was no charge to get in and then the price went up to $5 per badge and then $10 and then last year they were $30. I was smart enough to volunteer my time and my daughter’s time in exchange for weekend passes but this year, I think that we as a family will be sitting this Lift Off out.

    I agree that the local companies that seem to be doing quite well, Sigma Point and Advantech were mentioned above, Benson’s always been a sponsor; perhaps these companies should be called upon. But with Startek pulling its stunt and there are SO many jobless people in Cornwall, I certainly think that the City of Cornwall should be focusing on funding their money to those in need. I can say this for certain, if this loan goes through, I’ll be packing my family up and leaving Cornwall for a more sensible city…if such place exists.

  10. Hey Jamie. I’d feel odd too, but every now and then, Smee writes a coherent post that almost makes some sense… unlike me, who is ALWAYS rational and correct!

  11. @Colleen…the loan has gone through, hope you
    decide to stay non the less. Perhaps you can volunteer your time and talent to get this organization back on track?

  12. Colleen, did you see the post that explains how the money has to be spent? It may not make sense but it is the same in any city.

    Sarnia is hosting Bayfest this year with musical talent such as Steve Miller, The trews, Kiss…they use corporate funds plus the money invested from the city.

    What we need is a council not the group of under acheivers we have now. I will be curious to see if Councillor Andre Rivette answers my question on the revenue gained by last years event.

    That is the one side we never see. We only hear the negative aspect.

  13. Hi Smee

    In regards to your request to give the revenue side of the ledger, you would have to ask the organizer of the event. The best of my knowledge all those funds were collected by the Lift Off committee, I did not see a revenue tag in the recreation budget but if we would have been given Lift Off 2010 financial statement, I could have given you those numbers if they were in the statments.

    You might want to ask those questions to the Mayor and the CAO, Lift Off 2010 financial document was not shared with Council.

    The taxpayers have every right to get those questions answered !!!

    Councillor Andre Rivette

  14. I hope that the City Council Members of Cornwall did their homework when it comes to what this Festival brings to their City. If Lift-off needs to hit them up for a loan then maybe it is not something that their residents and their business community really support. It seems pretty obvious with the lack of community sponsorship.
    If you look at the “big picture”, $30k is not alot of money when you are organizing an event of this size, however, $30k can go a long way to support community charitable organizations who have to rely on their own fundraising.

  15. Andre & Jamie,

    Andre, in your 9:07 P.M. response, did I read correctly, that no 2010 financial statement or audited statements were provided to Council at their closed meeting ?

  16. YES that’s right Bill, NO 2010 FINANCIAL STATEMENT audited or unaudited was given to council members before the vote was taken. It was one of those 11 th hour rush rush meeting that was called by Mayor Kilger,

    It was not a closed meeting it was open and the press were present.

    Councillor Andre Rivette

  17. go ask chris savard what he did with all the money from years past from this even maybe he could tell u

  18. Andre
    Thank You for speaking with us.

    To be straight forward Kilger and Fitzpatrick answer just as you have, “You might want to ask those questions to the Mayor and the CAO, Lift Off 2010 financial document was not shared with Council.”

    Proof in point, I have been waiting for two years now for a copy of the budgetary quote on the cost of installation, maintenance and operating costs of the water meters.

    On the same topic I am still looking for a copy of the ROI and feasibility study completed to justify the need for the meters.

    I would think that as a Councillor you should be prepared to have the answers asked above and answer them. Not redirect

    thanx again!

  19. I do believe the individuals that operate the cities finances for certain events do not ask the right people in the community on the

  20. music or how there money is being spent, lets face it the children of this community don`t even have A YMCA and if we got more local people involved and stop charging outrageous amounts to use the park as vendors at this event …maybe then we could use the money we RAISE to attract better venues instead of lining the pockets of people who don`t really care about lift off ..rather more of how much income they and there colleagues will make after the event is done .

  21. By George! I think he’s got it!

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