Canadian Jazz Festival seeks municipal funds

First published: March 29, 2005

Port Hope council was asked to provide $15,000 from its 2005 budget Tuesday night for the third annual All-Canadian Jazz Festival to ensure the group will receive money from other agencies.

Treasurer Ron Brown, a new director of the festival’s board, told council during a presentation, the money was critical in order to convince other provincial and federal funding bodies like the Trillium Fund, Arts Presentation Canada Program Support, Tourism Event Marketing partnership Program and other arts bodies, the town is serious about supporting the event.

“The way these organizations look at us is that if the town doesn’t fund us, then why should they,” he told council before a packed public gallery full of festival supporters.

He also pointed out the ripple effect, if the town failed to provide its share, saying the more than 200 volunteers would fell their elected officials turned them down.

“The town must play a leadership role,” he said.

During the presentation, Brown outlined the benefits to the town, saying more than $1.2 million was spent, and adding the local restaurants, hotels and even real estate brokers claim there is an impact.

But previous concerns about rising administrative costs were raised. He also pointed to several other jazz festivals, saying places like Ottawa, Guelph and Saskatoon all had full-time staff, where part-time staff and volunteers run Port Hope. He also said the administrative portion of the 2005 festival budget was less than the previous year.

Mayor Rick Austin raised concerns about the availability of an audited statement of the 2004 festival, but Brown said the organization is still waiting for its arrival. Austin also noted the town’s in-kind contributions of staff and other resources are not recognized. But Brown argued other provincial and federal funding agencies do not take in-kind contributions into account when awarding grants.

Council voted to refer the request to the budget committee.

Brown said, after the meeting, he was pleased.

“This is a good sign. At least they are going to look at it,” he said.

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