Burk’s Falls to remove ice from arena for Agricultural Society’s Fall Fair

The cost to taxpayers of a one-day event will exceed $30,000

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The Village of Burk’s Falls council is reluctantly going against their arena manager’s recommendation and will remove the ice so that the Agricultural Society of Armor Ryerson Burk’s Falls can hold their fall fair Sept. Work.

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At the June board meeting, arena manager Graham Smith strongly recommended against taking the ice out for the one-day event due to the huge costs involved.

This included the cost of removing the ice and then putting it back in place, as well as lost revenue for ice users when ice is not available.

Although the company has held the fair on the arena floor for many years on Labor Day Monday, the event has been canceled for the past two years due to COVID.

During this period Smith was hired and the 2022 fall fair is his first experience with the event.

Smith suggested alternatives to the council, including the company placing vendors and entertainment in other parts of the arena building or holding the event outside the building.

The company took particular exception to the outdoors suggestion, citing unpredictable weather conditions as a hindrance to vendors and entertainment.

To settle the matter once and for all, the city council held a special meeting Thursday morning following a meeting Wednesday evening between members of the agricultural society, Coun. John Wilson and the Councillor. Jarvis Osborne.

“It was a very hostile meeting,” Osborne said of Wednesday’s meeting he and Wilson attended on behalf of the board.

“There were name-calling.”

Osborne said that while he didn’t like the tone of the society members, he came to the conclusion that for this year “it’s absolutely” too late for the society to hold the event other than on the floor. of the arena, which means the ice should come out.

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Wilson agreed since the fall fair is only two months away.

But he questions “the value of insults and harsh words” when it comes to helping meet the needs of agricultural society.

“It was reinforced many times that we were talking about how to benefit all users,” Wilson said, adding that this meant the agricultural society and the ice users.

However, Wilson said the meeting ‘wasn’t a complete waste of time’ as he said the agricultural society had a better idea of ​​why the city council was concerned about removing the ice for an event. of a day.

At Thursday’s special council meeting, Mayor Cathy Still said she was “not happy with the insults” council members had to endure.

Always noted that the cost to remove the ice and reinstall it will be over $30,000.

The arena is a shared facility with the Township of Armor and the Township of Ryerson and Still said the two municipalities agreed to remove the ice for the fall fair and agreed to share that expense.

Still said the icebreaking process will come at a “significant cost to the municipal building” at a time when it will face approximately half a million dollars in expenses over the next five years due to projects such as the roof repair and adaptation to a dehumidification system. .

The vote to keep the ice was very thin with Osborne and Wilson in favor while the adviser. Rex Smith and Council. Lisa Morrison wanted the ice to stay in place.

This left it to the mayor to break the deadlock and Still agreed that the ice would come out.

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But Still said that’s the last time the ice will be removed for the fall fair.

Looking to the future, Wilson suggested that perhaps the next council could set up a committee of council or have the full council meet with the agricultural society after this year’s fall fair “to achieve to a fair conclusion for 2023”.

“Rather than leaving it up to (the agricultural society) to figure it out, I think we have a huge role to play with them in coming to a solution that is acceptable to both of us and hopefully the conversation on the ice ahead. being deleted does not come back,” Wilson said.

Wilson added that the eventual solution must also consider the interests of ice users.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works at the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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