No Winterfest in Cornwall for 2015 Thanks to Volunteer Board Not Being Inclusive by Jamie Gilcig

jg2CORNWALL Ontario – One of the biggest issues I focused on during the municipal election was the need to change the culture of Cornwall.

We needed to stop running the city like it was a closed shop and be more inclusive, especially when it involved the public or tax payers.

Sadly Winterfest will not occur this year.    According to the city’s website it’s our “Signature” Winter event geared for families and of course children.  One of their board stated that the event was a no go for 2015.

Frankly I think Lamoureux Park should be iced up for the Winter like the park in Valleyfield.  Lit up too.   Like Lift Off the usual excuses for failure are that it’s a Volunteer board.   Of course all boards are volunteer essentially, but if you can’t fulfill the mandate you chose to accept then you should step aside and let others take the lead.

Winterfest board 2014

While some on this list may have some great “excuses” I have no doubt that another group of 10 could be found within a day of making a public request.  Of course they may have “lost control” for whatever purpose that is.  These events shouldn’t be stepping stones to getting elected to public office or maintaining big budgets.  Why is CAS for example spending our tax dollars on sponsorship of events in the first place as they have?  (CAS is grist for an entire series of columns as they have monster budgets that they spend on advertising and painting really nice parking spots for their VIP board members like Jeanette Despatie)

Sadly that has not happened this year although one member suggested that they might put together a one day event of some sort.

That again, is an excuse and frankly it’s lame.

It’s time that the City, if it’s going to lend support to these types of events, (and this group had two councilors last year on its board), have some sort of role to make sure that the Volunteers achieve their goals.

I’m sure Winterfest will be back next year, but you need to build up good will with sponsors and the public to make an event successful and grow.

Lift Off has also had struggles and there still is no official confirmation of whether there will be a 21st Lift Off.

We can do better and need to do better.

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

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  1. Actually I’m not surprised. The board needs more variety of talent on it to provide more avenues for events, volunteers, services, etc. Winterfest was so weather dependent. If it returns it should be less Lamoureaux Park dependent. Winterlude in Ottawa learned that lesson years ago. But I do agree that a rink should be setup all winter long in the park with lights and change / washroom sheds.

    Lift-Off has announced dates. But that’s about it.

  2. Jamie you and Hugger are absolutely right and I think that Lamoureux Park would be an excellent place for an outdoor skating rink and with lights. Your former relative who was mayor of Cornwall back in the days of the Seaway made picnics for the people of Cornwall and it was called the mayor’s picnic. He was the best mayor that Cornwall ever had right up till today. Cornwall went the wrong way and built a big albatross only for the rich and nothing to accommodate the general population. Jamie you are the best.

  3. Brock and Steve have no need to sponsor it this year. Brock’s in and sales are down.

  4. Author

    420 from what I have heard they had no role in there being no Winterfest this year to be fair. Although it was interesting how they did the two step last year….

  5. From what I recall Brock and Storm Realty were involved two years ago. Sponsors change all the time; just ask Lift-Off.

  6. Author

    According to another media story (google it) they were sponsors in 2014 Hugger.

  7. Probably. My point being that sponsors change all the time.

  8. Author

    or they just don’t support an event enough….

  9. Agreed. But most sponsors have a limit to what they will spend.

  10. Author

    Hugger for the fests it is crucial that sponsors feel that they are getting something for their $$$. I can tell you that many haven’t been feeling that these last few years. You can’t ask for pro $$$ and then throw up excuses that “we’re just volunteers” when they don’t deliver the results.

    We also had allegations that one fest actually told some vendors and sponsors that if they sponsored another fest they couldn’t be a part of theirs.

    Instead of standing up to such bullying many caved in. Again, one reason why the city should not rent out Lamoureux Parc to competing fests that close together. It’s just bad for business and bad for Cornwall.

  11. While I agree in principle there are a few points I’d like to bring forward.

    In regard to vendors /sponsors being told if they participate in one festival they can’t participate in another; that is common. Performers often have that written into their contracts when they agree to perform in an area. No surprise that it’s been extended to vendors or sponsors.

    The city cannot be brought into a fight between Lift-Off and Ribfest. The city rents out the Park when it is requested. If there is a perceived conflict between the two festivals the festivals must work out the differences. The city gains rent and exposure. They are not there to arbitrate between festivals willing to hold festivals in a park.

  12. Author

    Hugger there is wear and tear to the park by having festivals too close together. I feel that there should be no more than one per month of a certain size during the Summer. That’s easy enough to implement. If Lift Off is in July then Ribfest could be in June or August.

  13. I agree. However, Ottawa has multiple festivals at Confederation Park and at Lebreton Flats /War Museum back to back. If one of the festivals here is willing to change fine. If not then we deal with two festivals close together. To me it’s not an issue the festival goers should be concerned with. The festivals obviously have no issues being back to back.

  14. This is sad, all the talk about bringing our community together and now this. I’d like to say I’m shocked but, I cannot.

  15. Elliott….after being here 4+ years nothing surprises me any more.

  16. I don’t think that there is enough money to run all these festivals and the city lacks the money and I told all of you that the city is in trouble financially. That albatross that you call a Benson Centre takes a huge chunk out of the budget including the emergency services and city council is way too big for a tiny town and shouldn’t have more than 6 councellors at most plus the mayor. The shovelling of snow costs a great deal of money unless people want to shovel the streets by hand and don’t get me going with this when in the past (50’s era) you didn’t see streets shoveled like the way they are today. If cuts are not made in the proper way then people’s taxes will go through the roof and as is most people cannot afford the tax hikes so money has to come from somewhere and a lot of people have to have restraints on their incomes and spending. You cannot spend your way out of debt – only fiscal restraints can do that.

  17. Jules, Jules, Jules….these festivals are run not by the city but by organizers and sponsors. The only connection to the city is that the festivals are held on city land. The city does provide, at times, in like services, which is basic services for the festivals.

    As for the Benson Centre it is a very well used and is much better to have that than to be funding the ancient Bob Turner and Si Miller arenas. If you think the Benson Centre costs a lot, the other two arenas would be costing more to run.

    Yes, cuts need to be made. But they have to be done smartly. If not it turns into a slash and burn exercise, which serves no useful purpose.

  18. Author

    Hugger I think if you checked the numbers we’re spending a lot of money on the Benson Centre, more perhaps than both the Si and Bob combined.

  19. The Ottawa Winterlude is coming up fast. Great skating, copious amounts of fresh air, ice sculptures, beaver tails, hot chocolate and no beer tent. A class event only an hour away, no cliques, no drama, just simple family fun.

  20. Perhaps. But both former arenas would have needed major upgrades (removal of asbestos, electrical, plumbing, etc.) to bring them up to code. So, in the end it was less expensive to tear the two arenas down and run the Benson Centre.

  21. There may be more cost up front, but in the long run the city is in a much better position. The Bob and the Si were no longer maintainable. The Benson Centre is a great facility and we shodul be proud, as a city to have such a facility. Step in there any day of the week and you will see that families and citizens are using the facility. The only real downside is there is no resto/pub inside. Hopefully that will come in due time.

  22. I think when people complain about the Benson Centre they forget that it is more than an arena. It has 3 NHL sized rinks, an indoor field house (Multi-Sport Indoor Turf Facility), multi-purpose court which includes layout for 1 tennis, 4 badminton & pickleball, 1 volleyball, walking track, kid’s mini stick rink, multi-purpose room & community rooms. This is so much more than an “arena.”

  23. Author

    Hugger you have to stop taking what people tell you as gospel. If you want a new rink that’s what you tell people about the old rinks. Do you really think it’d have taken $35M to revamp both rinks? 🙂

  24. Author

    That it is hugger, but at what cost? They are talking a 5.88% raise for this year. One single year.

  25. Do you really think that the two rinks could be brought up to code? Nope, they were old and at the end of the usefullness. Take a look at what new arenas cost these days. For $35 million we got a very good facility.

    If you really think the tax hike will come in at 5.88% you’re mistaken. They will slice and dice that down.

  26. Thanks Jean Beasceau and David Oldham. It’s good that someone gets it about festivals and the Benson Centre.

  27. Hugger just give a moment of thought on this one. Who is going to go to Cornwall (meaning what professional team) to use the Benson Centres 3 pad professional hockey rink. Long before you went to Cornwall (I lived there during that time) when Québec’s farm team was down there and Cornwall could not afford to keep that Farm Team at all and it all folded. I understand fully well about the old Si Miller arena that I haven’t been to since age of 11 or 12 years old and I was frightened then about that old arena. The Bob Turner was built in 1959 and I met Bob Turner, his wife and kids who came from New Jersey and they went through hell in Cornwall being black. We used to walk together along with mom when she was well. The Bob Turner is in a good place in Cornwall for families and unlike the Benson Centre where you have to be one of the money people to afford it and that is very rare in Cornwall.

    One more point is that here in Ottawa there are a great deal of deep pockets for many festivities and there are the Blues Festivals that go on in the park where we go along with other festivities and they come from everywhere. Cornwall is very small and you need a lot more people to pay for all for all of those things and Cornwall doesn’t have the population nor the financial means.

  28. Admin said: Hugger you have to stop taking what people tell you as gospel. If you want a new rink that’s what you tell people about the old rinks. Do you really think it’d have taken $35M to revamp both rinks?

    Whom do you believe then? CFN? CSF? Le Journal? CNW? The Seeker? We can only know what we are told. Who knows what numbers / info is correct? Even media outlets can report what they are told, ubless they decide to fudge the numbers.

  29. Jules, the Benson Centre is for community use. There never was an expectation that “professional” teams would be using the rinks. And yes, I remember the Aces. That was a mistake from the get go.

    The same organizations that used the Bob Turner are now using the Benson Centre. Take a walk through it sometime, it’s a place for all levels of income.

    I do agree with you on festivals. It’s hard to get sponsors. Some sponsors cannot continue to sposor festivals year after year after year. Time for more natonal brands to step up in Cornwall.

  30. Too bad the city didn’t have the foresight to save the ice plant and concrete arena pad at the Water Street arena.

    It would have been a nice outdoor skating rink for the winter and a sk8park in spring, summer and fall. A focal point for Lamoureux Park events.

    Instead it’s another empty lot…

    The city should have bought the Monaco rink boards to put around that empty lot, and painted a phoney streetscape on them — just like famous entrepreneur Chenier’s eyesore.

  31. Simon you did come up with a good idea and Cornwall’s people have to use their thinking caps to bring up a lot of good issues. I have been saying for some time now that it isn’t just the counsel themselves who are out there to solve a lot of issues but it is you the citizens of Cornwall to help the council and mayor come up with things that are good for the town. When you leave it up to mayor and council and things don’t go well then you blame them because they made bad decisions.

    The rink boards on Monaco Crescent are not ugly at all and if I had a house I wouldn’t mind them at all but in the back yard only. I think that Mr. & Mrs. Vincent did a lovely job and a great heart and a great idea but it has to be put in the backyard. My hat is off to them and when my kids were little I was an over protective person and had to be. Today here in Ottawa you do not see kids outside playing in the outdoors and everyone is stuck inside which isn’t very healthy.

  32. I think the ice pad was kept at the old Bob Turner site. But I think the ice pad at the Si Miller had contaminatio issues and that’s why it was not kept.

  33. Hugger what ice pad at the Bob Turner being kept? The entire building is gone piece by piece and nail by nail – there is nothing left of the place. I was in shock when we drove by some months ago.

  34. Jules, the ice pad was kept, but not the ice plant. It was kept until plans are firmed up on what to do with the Bob Turner and football field beside it. I cannot see them plowing it, as it would become very slippery.

  35. I miss the Bob Turner arena…..that’s where I and countless others learned to skate. The good old days. There are free outdoor public ice rinks too I’m assuming, or was that done away with?

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