TRURO – Spending $10,000 on a VIP reception as part of grand opening ceremonies at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre is not a welcome prospect for some Colchester County councillors.
Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
“I have a big problem with this,” Coun. Mike Gregory said, during discussion this week regarding a request for a $5,000 donation from the county for the event.
“We just talked about being good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars,” he said. “I think they’re overboard here. This is insane. I won’t support this $5,000.”
Grand opening ceremonies at the civic centre are planned for Sept. 28, with classic rock band April Wine scheduled as the headline entertainment.
A VIP and community welcome reception are planned as part of the day’s activities, for which staff have set a budget of $10,000.
The Municipality of Colchester and the Town of Truro are each being asked to contribute $5,000 towards those costs.
The proposed budget shows that $3,000 is to be used to pay for catering and the décor for the VIP reception. Another $3,000 is to be used for entertainment, specific to that event.
The proposed budget also includes $1,500 for marketing, $2,000 for promotions and $500 for miscellaneous spending.
“Three thousand dollars for a VIP reception? What is the definition of a VIP reception?” asked Coun. Karen MacKenzie.
“There’s so way I’m allotting $3,000 for them to have (a VIP reception). I don’t even know who the VIPs are. If they aren’t the taxpayers I don’t know who they are. So that’s like forget it. It’s not happening.”
Coun. Christine Blair said she also opposed the expenditure.
“This is something that really bothers me because the last time we saw the general manager come into this council was when he was asking for a budget approval,” she said. “We haven’t had any financial statements, we have no idea how much money is being spent at that facility, we don’t know anything.”
Mayor Bob Taylor said a financial update on the centre is expected to be available by next week.
Council referred a decision on the request to its next committee meeting so that it can gather more specific information about the event.
“I’m not going to support a VIP reception,” Coun. Mike Cooper said.