Submitted by Norma Tilgner
The Rock Creek and Boundary Fair Association meeting Wednesday, May 21 at the fairgrounds pavilion proved to be the longest general meeting this year. Members and directors interacted on several items of interest and reports were heard from all committees as the fair weekend, Sept. 13 and 14, takes shape.
Resident entrepreneur and active community supporter Leona Pringle has had a commercial booth at the fair for the past five years. She requested permission from the board that, as a local business person, she be allowed to sell bottled beverages from her commercial vendor’s booth. Fair policy is that only food vendors are allowed to sell beverages.
Currently Pringle pays $125 for her 3×6-metre (10×20 foot) commercial booth space and has to carry $2 million liability insurance. Food vendors are required to carry $5 million liability insurance and pay 17 per cent of their gross to the fair.
According to Pringle, $2 million liability insurance costs $40 and $5 million costs $120.
Fair secretary Rachel Lautard told the Times that commercial vendors are not allowed to sell beverages because that infringes on the food vendors, who pay more for their spot and are required to have certain permits in place (health permits and Food Safe).
“The fair has to have policies and we have to stick to policies. Otherwise every meeting we are besieged by someone wanting a discount because of something or another. We basically said if you are a food vendor you abide by the food vendor rules. If you are a commercial vendor you abide by the commercial vendor rules.
“It is an unfortunate fact of life but we can’t be giving exceptions to everybody who asks,” Lautard explained.
After more than 30 minutes of discussion during the meeting trying to resolve the issue, president Lincoln Blaine declared the requirements stand as they are now for permits.
The regional district is tightening up on accountability for gas tax grants. Treasurer Lisa Sims reported that the spending of money received will now be tracked for a ten-year period and items purchased will return to the regional district if recipient groups fold before the ten years is complete. An interesting additional use for their reports is a joint look at the energy savings for the new energy efficient lights and appliances that are currently being installed on the grounds. These will include parking lot lighting.
Ron Palmer suggested that more detailed tracking in minutes and on paper become the regular format for grant writing. He noted that as a taxpayer he wants accountability in the process to include: the proposal for the grant be stated with the project’s purpose and amount of money required. The proposal then needs to come before the membership for a vote before the grant is written. A record of the tendering process, and item price comparisons should also be improved upon for easier scrutiny.
With one of the 12 director spots vacant but no one at either of the last two meetings coming forward to let their name stand for the position, the board has decided they will continue to operate with 11 directors until the next annual general meeting.
Speaking on behalf of the Kettle River Lions Club Ed Fossen proposed that if the fair will supply the permits, materials and do the electrical work, the Lions will provide the labour to construct a gatehouse.
“Ideally it will be in place this year,” Lautard said. “The Lions would like the permits in place by July 1.”
After much debate, members voted to get this project started. Requests for more volunteers for vendor parking, a memorial committee, and historical research team had limited success. Mary Lautard stepped forward to look at options for a permanent memorial for lifetime members. For Boundary residents who would like some defined involvement with the fair, these are some new areas where your input would be very welcome.
Phil Gunhouse gave a committee report on highway signage and web site management. Updating of signs, redesign of logo, inclusion of 4-H emblem, and links with sponsors on the web site also led to significant discussion.
Ponderosa Festival organizers have been working to mitigate problems with sound aggravation. So far they have mentioned they will place rubber mats underneath speakers and strategically build large round bale walls to absorb sound.
Ian Smith volunteered to participate with Lisa Sims in her meetings with the new RCMP team as they investigate the financials of the Fair from the years previous to the current board.
Ilana Fraser reported that the dais program is almost complete and Terry Keough has confirmed country and western singer Tim Hus and children’s entertainer Charlotte Diamond will be performing. In the arena the heavy horse competition is confirmed and in process is the gymkhana, barrel racing, and hopefully the drill team. Ilana also mentioned items with the constitution need to be dealt with at the next meeting.
This fair will highlight the 4-H club involvement in B.C. farming communities for the past 100 years. 4-H members will be involved in a few extra activities in addition to showing their livestock and handcrafts.