Deputy Mayor Jim MacLeod addresses Mitch Bonnar, during a presentation before town council from the non-profit society organizing a bid for the 2013 World Junior A Challenge. BELLE HATFIELD PHOTO
By Belle Hatfield
Yarmouth town council will provide up to $30,000 to a committee preparing a bid to host the 2013 World Junior A Challenge.
Council voted to approve the funding when it met at a special meeting Tuesday morning, to hear a presentation the organization had been prepared to make at the regular council meeting, last Thursday, Dec. 13. On a point of procedure, council could not hear the presentation then because it failed to get the unanimous vote needed to put it on the agenda.
Mitch Bonnar made the presentation on behalf of the committee.
He told council the 2012 event, held in Yarmouth in November, had been an overwhelming success. Not only did it bring an estimated $2.2 million into the local economy, it buoyed the spirits of the community. The event’s success was fueled by an enthusiastic volunteer force of around 150 people. He said most of those volunteers are eager to do it again.
During the TSN broadcast of the gold medal game, the community and some of its businesses were extensively highlighted. Officials from Hockey Canada have said it was the most successful challenge event to date. They have invited Yarmouth to bid again, even though tradition has seen the event move location each year. Bonnar said the event had raised the profile of the community across the country.
The decision was not reached without debate. The first motion approved by council offered a guarantee for any shortfall up to $30,000. No money would be available until after the event and then, only if there was a shortfall.
Bonnar said that the committee needed a funding commitment from the community before he could approach the province for support.
"We really need your money," he said.
What followed was a lesson in procedure and policy. With input from both the solicitor and the town’s CAO, council finally felt comfortable to unanimously support an amended second motion, which provides the funding as long as confidential financial statements are submitted by the bid proponents, and with the understanding that the funds would come out of the 2013-2014 budget.
Council expects to rescind its original motion to guarantee a shortfall at its January meeting.
The Municipality of Yarmouth approved $30,000 at its regular meeting last week. The bid committee will also approach Clare and Argyle municipal councils for support, but Bonnar said the province is next on the committee's list.
Hockey Canada expects to announce its decision by the end of January.