Event noise brings concerns

A report on the February meeting of the Rock Creek Fair Association.

A theme for the annual fall fair, some complaints about late-night noise and some heated discussion about the rental rate charged local non-profit groups were all on the agenda of the February meeting of the Rock Creek and Boundary Fair Association last week (Feb. 18).

The theme for the 2016 Rock Creek fall fair has been set: “Celebrating 101 of the Rock Creek Farmer’s Institute – Sow it.  Grow it.  Show it.”

Concerns were again raised by residents living near the fairgrounds about the noise and hours of operation for the Association of Injured Motorcyclists Boogie Bash and the Ponderosa Music Festival events. Both contracts were accepted by the membership as proposed by the board. There will be no change in hours but the draft meeting minutes state that work will continue on ways to mitigate the noise.

The Boogie Bash will take place over the August long weekend. They will pay $7,000 (same as last year) and shutdown time is 1 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

The Ponderosa Festival will run from Aug 21-23. The rental fee has increased from $3500 to $3800 and they can run the stage from 1p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 1 p.m. – 12 a.m. on Sunday (same as last year).

Members of the Bridesville Women’s Institute (WI) came to the fair meeting in hoping to amend the rental rate policy for local non-profit groups after they didn’t qualify for a 25 per cent discount on their rental of the pavilion for the Christmas Craft Fair.

In March of 2014, the fair association adopted a rental policy that would allow a 25 per cent discount off posted rental rates for local non-profit (Area E) groups to rent the facilities for non-fundraising events.

“We felt this policy was fair and gave our office manager a clear guideline for the rental of facilities,” fair secretary Rachael Lautard told the Times. “This way the board of directors would not have to get involved in debating discounts every time the building was rented.”

When the Bridesville WI sent a letter to the Board in January requesting a discount they were told that only non-fundraising events would continue to receive a discount.

The WI replied with another letter stating that all of the money they raise is donated back to the community and they wanted it discussed at a general meeting.

Lautard said that the board feels that if any local non-profit is renting the facilities for a fundraiser they should charge their patrons accordingly to cover the costs.

Louise Fossen made a motion on behalf of the Bridesville WI that the “non-fundraising” phrase be removed from the rental agreement policy for all local Area E non-profit groups.

“I guess the bigger question is:  Are the fair facilities part of a community centre or not,” asked Fossen.

Fossen said she had talked to other local groups that feel the same. “We are just asking that local non-profit groups that volunteer at the fair be given a break on rentals.

Bridesville WI donates to the fair, scholarship fund, W.B.E. breakfast program, 4-H and many others as the need arises.

“The board seems to be overly concerned on giving us a break as it might set some precedent.  We understand that the fair has a lot of expenses but we think some of those expenses can be covered by fair income, not on the backs of the local non-profit volunteers.”

After nearly an hour of discussion Fossen withdrew her motion and the policy will remain in place. “I withdrew the motion because they started to discuss whether it should be Area E or not,” explained Fossen. “We felt is should be for groups that volunteer at the fair.”

Next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m.