City holding a party to get citizen input on what they want in the way of festivals and events.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 10, 2016


Festivals and events are big deals for Burlington.

In the summer months there is RibFest; Sound of Music, Canada Day and the Children’s Festival.

Rib fest signs and crowd

Does RibFest define Burlington? Should it? It is a very popular event.

People in the parks and recreation department are looking at what has been done in the past and what they might do in the future in terms of planning for events.

They want to develop a strategy to help guide the delivery of festivals and events in the community and they want public input on the types of events held in the city, how many events are held, where in the city events are held and if and how the city should help to fund events

There is an online survey where you can get your two cents worth in –takes approximately five minutes to complete.  Click here.

Community events popularity graph

The data shown are not the final results – the survey has not been completed yet.

There is a historical approach applied to the acceptance of events hosted within Spencer Smith Park. The park and some downtown roads have reached capacity and there is now a desire for a balanced approached to potentially expand events to other areas in our city.
Staff want to:

Set a vision for events in Burlington
Define the objectives for hosting events in Burlington
Determine guiding principles for event hosting including:
define different types of events and priority events
do risk assessments
look at the funding model for events
establish critera for considering new events and removal of duplicate or less desired events

The stage certainly wasn't city issue - shows what you can do witha coiple of 2x4's and a sheet on canvas if you have to keep the sun off you. Music was OK.

The city doesn’t stage much in the way of public events north of the QEW – everything happens along the edge of the lake.  This event was in Alton – stage certainly wasn’t city issue – shows what you can do with couple of 2×4’s and a sheet of canvas if you have to keep the sun off you.

A number of months ago council and staff met as a Committee of the Whole and talked about the direction the city might want to take with its festivals and events. The city consistently wins awards for the quality of the events it does hold – the question that was put before the meetings was:

Are the events we are currently holding the events we should be holding is a question that was asked. How you events get selected? More than twenty years ago city staff opposed the RibbFest being held in the park – but it was a Rotary project and Burlington city councils rarely oppose what Rotary wants.

There was discussion about the “Burlington brand” – are we more than the Sound of Music? Has RibFest met its best before date? Do we want to begin to move events out of the downtown core?

Committee of the whole meetings have an open approach – the rules of procedure that stymies council meetings don’t apply – comments are much more candid.

The Parks and Recreation people are taking an innovative and welcoming approach to citizen engagement – they are going to hold a “party” at Royal Botanical Gardens March 29th from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Auditorium B.

The creating of community seems to be replacing community engagement – we are seeing some interesting and innovative approaches coming out of the parks and recreation department.

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