Better collection and co-ordination of local events is the hope pinned to a new events co-ordinator position being shared between the Town of Sidney and the downtown business improvement area.
Mayor Larry Cross says the municipality plans to put up $20,000 out of its economic development fund to contribute to the costs of such a position. They will partner with the Sidney Business Improvement Area (BIA) to create a contract job, designed to help bring more people to the community.
“We are working on a memorandum of understanding with the BIA now,” Cross said. “I see it as event co-ordination in the Town, helping get the word out, creating links and helping other groups.”
Town council voted at a recent committee of the whole session to approve the funds, following a presentation of the idea by members of the Town’s Community Development Committee (CDC) and the BIA. The Town’s permanent CDC had formed an ad hoc group to explore the events co-ordinator position. They recommended that the cost be shared between the Town and the BIA.
Cross said the Town had been struggling on its own to get a clear picture of all of the events going on in the community and this idea will open a central desk, of sorts, to do that.
“One thing we want to see is an increase in the number of activities in Town,” Cross said. “This will help residents and help local businesses.”
The position, he continued, will ensure event organizers co-ordinate what they’re planning with others to both reduce conflicts of scheduling and to even enhance existing events.
Both the CDC and BIA hope that the position will be governed by a Sidney Event Advisory Group, consisting of the Town, Mary Winspear Centre, Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula, Peninsula Celebrations Society and Sidney Historical Museum.
Cliff McNeil-Smith, chair of the BIA and member of the CDC (Graham Debling is the chair) told the News Review the measure of success for the events co-ordinator will be in the numbers — the attendance to events and to downtown Sidney businesses.
— with files from Tim Collins