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Hosting an event in Stouffville? New grants protocol in place

Don't go the town council route if you want a break
June 25, 2015
By Sandra Bolan

If you wanted an event fee waived, you used to head to council, plead your case and were sometimes given the town facility at a discounted rate or for free.

When Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville council did this, the money to pay the fee was pulled from the $20,000 annual grants and donations budget.

But as more events are taking place within the municipality, many of which are fundraisers, the requests are increasing to the point where this process “will quickly deplete the grants and donations account,” according to a June 2 staff report.

The fund was created as direct source funding, for example sponsoring a hole in a golf tournament, Rob Raycroft, director of leisure and community services for the town told The Sun-Tribune.

So far this year, there have been requests from local event organizers to waive the $2,500 rental fee of Memorial Park or to help offset the cost of police officers at other events.

Town staff assists in 12 to 15 events a year with requests for more occurring annually, according to Raycroft.

Council approved a revamped policy this month.

Now, once the town receives the completed special event permit application, it will be reviewed by the newly created special events advisory committee (SEAC), which will then provide a recommendation to council regarding the permit. Details on the waiving of fees still need to be determined.

If a group now approaches council directly, without going through the SEAC review process, the delegation will be received as information only, according to the staff report.

“Should any group not agree with the SEAC decision to not approve their event as a necessary community event, that group can still seek a delegation of council to be heard directly,” according to the staff report.

The fees to rent Memorial Park, an ice pad, ball diamond or any municipal facility or room were created to offset costs associated with town staff contributions and resources, according to the report.

“In many cases it is directly covering the overtime created by the extension of services through the evening and weekend hours, including statutory holidays (when) many of the community events occur,” according to the staff report.

Town staff cannot waive those fees, Raycroft told The Sun-Tribune.

“Fees have to be in place or we may not be permitted to charge them,” he said.

From now on, if fees are waived by council, they will not be paid from the grants and donations budget, but absorbed by the town.

“ ... the costs associated with providing services, equipment and labour will not be recovered. If the volume of such requests continue to build, this may result in departmental deficit,” stated, in part, the staff report.