By Dan Rankin
At their Mar. 1 meeting, Perth South Council agreed to donate $700 towards the Perth South-based River Rock Music, Arts and Food Festival for the second consecutive year.
In 2015, the municipality gave a grant of $700 to organizer Sean Camp to go towards having a water truck on site during the day as a potable water source for attendees.
This year, Camp had been seeking a slightly larger grant for the water truck, $900, as well as an operational expense grant of $1,500 that could have gone towards tent rental.
Councillors commented that, while they had heard questions from some in the community about supporting a private event, it’s not so simple to calculate the economic impact of such a festival.
“People come from all over,” Coun. Bill Jeffrey said. “We don’t know the effects that can have 10 years down the road, whether they may decide to settle here. I don’t think it’s right to say ‘we’re not going to have anything to do with it,’ and leave them to their own resources. As a community, as a Council, I think there should be some token of appreciation in support of this.”
“We have an opportunity to help bring people in without a sizeable investment,” Mayor Robert Wilhelm said.
“I would hope there’s a point where it becomes self-sustainable so that maybe they wouldn’t need to come to us for help going forward, after the first year or two,” said Coun. Sam Courriveau.
Perth South also assented to Camp’s request to identify the 2016 River Rock festival event as a “significant event” in the municipality, a qualification that assists in his applications for insurance and licensing.