Sidney events liaison has contract extended

Town, business group extend deal for three more years.

Sidney Business Improvement Area Society Executive Director Donna Petrie.

Sidney’s event liaison is getting a three-year extension and a raise for a job well done.

Jointly funded by the Town of Sidney and Sidney Business Improvement Area Society (SBIAS), the event liaison was created a year ago, not long after the SBIAS was formed to help boost the fortunes of downtown business. Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to guide the mandate and expectations for the shared position. On Monday, Jan. 26, Susan Simosko of the SBIAS petitioned the municipality for the extension of the MOU, asking for an added $5,000 in 2015.

Simosko says the event liaison, Donna Petrie, has exceeded expectations. That has been reflected in increased event sponsorships, more participants in local events and increasing Sidney’s profile in local and other media. Most recently, Simosko said Petrie facilitated an agreement with radio station Ocean 98.5 to promote Sidney events.

“This is a deal that is worth a lot and costs the town, the SBIA and Sidney Events Advisory Group nothing,” she said.

The latter group was also formed at the same time as the SBIAS. It’s comprised of representatives of local venues, businesses and attractions. The events liaison works with them to prioritize events, co-ordinate them so there are fewer clashes and respond to feedback and advice. It’s a big job, said Simosko, one that Petrie has handled well.

Simosko said the three-year MOU extension will create continuity in the service provided by the events liaison and build on current successes.

Councillors approved the request to extent the MOU, adding $5,000 to the remuneration for the position this year. Increases of 2.5 per cent in 2016 and ‘17 are also part of the new deal.

Staff reported to council that the extra funding — taking the Town’s share from $20,000 per year to $25,000 in 2015 — would come from the Town’s economic development fund, set to grow to $100,000 this year. Future budgets would have to be adjusted in subsequent years to maintain the initial and percentage increases.

The SBIAS’ share in the position represents 22 per cent of its overall budget. They collect $250,000 each year in the form of a downtown business levy.