A request for $70,000 from the City of White Rock to help breathe life into the next sea festival has been referred to staff.
Organizers of the 2014 waterfront event – bolstered by its milestone 65th year – made the funding request Monday evening. The majority of the money, $50,000, would be used to build a city float, and the balance would go towards hosting a torchlight parade, explained Brian Hagerman, vice-president of the newly formed society that’s putting the festival together.
Hagerman and society president Michelle Pedersen appeared as a delegation to give the politicians an early look at what is planned for the August long-weekend event.
Initially intending to ask for $65,000, the amount was increased at the last minute to ensure a “buffer” for the parade, Hagerman told Peace Arch News Tuesday.
“It’s not exceeding what it will cost, that’s for sure,” he said. “Every dollar will be carefully managed.”
In appealing to council, Hagerman noted the festival has survived “all kinds of ups and downs.”
At the same time, “it’s one of the things that make White Rock special,” he said.
The float, he said, is something the city would own and the society would look after, including taking it to events in other communities to showcase White Rock.
“We believe the city really misses out, as do White Rock Youth Ambassadors, in not having a float,” he said.
Prior to referring the request to staff – a suggestion that received unanimous support from council (Coun. Larry Robinson was absent) – Mayor Wayne Baldwin commended Hagerman and Pedersen for the society’s efforts “to fill the void.”
Baldwin said the festival’s history has been a significant factor in its survival through recent years’ struggles with sponsorship and a declining number of volunteers.
“If it weren’t for the success of the past sea festivals it would’ve died a long time ago,” he said.