The upcoming Port Stanley Pride Fest appears to be on the rocks after last minute demands from Central Elgin. The motivation behind these last minute changes have been questioned in certain areas with regards to the nature of the event. Municipality lawyer Stephen Gibson claims that the requirements would be applied to any event but the last minute timing does appear to be mysterious.
The requests from Central Elgin were a large amount of fencing, more security, both police and private security as well as making the main area for the stage a licenced area for 19+. This would of course require a brand new site layout. It would also add several thousand dollars to the costs of the event.
The Special Events Committee met on July 3rd reviewing applications for several events, including the Port Stanley Pride Festival and recommended that the council pass the resolution to approve the permits as set out in the applications. The approval would be conditional on organizers complying with the Special Events Policy.
Correspondence was sent from the event organizers to Central Elgin on November 8th, 2011, proposing Port Stanley Pride Fest. A second correspondence was sent February 1st, 2012, with regards to the location of the event and an application on May 9th, 2012 requested an exemption to the Noise By-Law.
In the minutes from the June 11th, 2012, Central Elgin council meeting, the application for the Exemption to the Noise By-Law was carried.
Looking at the actual application submitted on April 16th, 2012, the enclosed map showed where the main stage would have a very small non-licenced area next to a large licenced area. The recent request to make the main area for the stage a licenced area doesn’t appear to be that different to what was already planned on the application.
The application also stated that a private security firm would be used although the number of security personnel was not mentioned, although 30 volunteers were.
While there might well be legitimate reasons for the late request of changes but it is difficult to understand why something that has obviously been well planned and well known about by the council for over a year would suddenly hit an expected hiccup. Going by those documents available on the Central Elgin website (http://centralelgin.ca) there doesn’t seem to have been any last minute incidents that might suggest the reason for changes.
Perhaps the best possible solution to everything would be for the Central Elgin council loan the event the necessary money to complete the requirements needed and then the festival can repay the loan once the event has successfully completed.
Information taken from AM 980 website as well as the Central Elgin website