- Nikki Million-Cole
- Aug 31, 2012
Town council approves $29,000 payout for celebration
PENETANGUISHENE – Penetanguishene council will spend an estimated $29,000 to be part of a Tall Ships event next summer under the banner of War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations.
Council approved a recommendation from the recreation and cultural services section on Aug. 29 to ask Tall Ships America to designate the town as an official Tall Ships Challenge port organizer. Councillors also voted to allocate $29,000 to the effort from various funds and reserves.
“The War of 1812 bicentennial … is an opportunity to commemorate a historic turning point in the history of our country,” town tourism and event co-ordinator Wendy Cousineau stated in a report.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812. The occasion provides a chance to increase visitation based on the significance of the war for the southern Georgian Bay area, Cousineau explained, adding the event will also increase the profile of the province and participating municipalities.
The Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture has approved a “Blockbuster Grant” application for $880,000 for the Tall Ships 1812 Commemoration Tour. Funding of $155,000 has been allocated for participating ports along Georgian Bay, including Penetanguishene, Midland, Owen Sound, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach.
Deputy Mayor Pat Marion reiterated his feelings about the town’s decision to take part in the event in the first place, calling it a “high-risk gamble with our taxpayers’ money.”
“The town’s operation costs are still increasing and, if we need to look at service decreases rather than one weekend of tall ships to balance the budget, then I will vote to maintain services every time,” he said.
The event, countered Coun. Debbie Levy, always draws a large crowd, which can only benefit the municipality.
“This town loves having those tall ships here. It brings out tens of thousands of people, and they stay the weekend or the week,” she said. “I really see potential for us to make this a wonderful event. I’ve been through two tall ship events in this town, and I think this is money well spent.”
The Tall Ships are scheduled to arrive Aug. 23, 2013.