By Cole Parkinson
While nothing is official as of yet, the Town of Vauxhall’s centennial celebration is under threat of being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scheduled for the weekend of June 19, discussion is still being had but has slowed down due to Coronavirus concerns that don’t seem to be going away any time soon. Council discussed options for the celebration moving forward during a special meeting held on April 7.
“We’ll be talking about still making the plans but not really spending any money other than what was put down for the deposit for Trevor Panczak,” explained Mayor Margaret Plumtree.
In terms of funding for the event, the town has secured the Heritage Grant for $15,000, Family and Community Support Services have put aside $6,300 for kid activities, Bow River Irrigation District will be contributing around $20,000 and the town committed $10,000.
On June 19, tentatively, there is a Co-op sponsored family barbecue, kids activities and an outdoor movie. June 20 would see a Western Tractor sponsored breakfast, a parade, opening ceremonies, a BRID luncheon, a Vauxhall fire hall barbecue, a show n’ shine, live music, kids activities, a photo booth sponsored by Scotiabank, a baseball game at Jets Stadium and school tours.
That night, a supper would be held at the community hall with a cabaret/concert to follow at the arena. The following day a joint church service would be held.
With a delay of the event likely, holding it later this year may also present challenges due to harvest.
“Our (BRID) preference would be if we can’t pull it off by very early August, have a 101 celebration instead of 100,” said Coun. Richard Phillips, who is also the BRID manager.
Further discussion with the centennial committee is going to take place with a decision on the event in the coming weeks.
Another issue council had to make a decision on was the centennial clock.
A new quote from three different manufacturers was presented to council coming from Electric Time ($51,176), Verdin ($58,317) and Americlock ($49,132).
With Americlock presenting the lowest quote, it was suggested to go with them.
“My opinion is that the only one that would be able to supply the clock within the middle of this year is Americlock. They also have the lowest price,” explained Joerg Klempnauer, president of the VDCC. “That would leave us about $10,000 short and I don’t think it would be a big problem to get that $10,000.”
Estimates of funding for the clock came from the Vauxhall Ag Society ($10,000), Columbia Seed ($6,000), BRID ($10,000) and Claassen Farms $1,000.
Klempnauer also listed money coming from the town ($5,000) and the Heritage Grant ($8,000).
“The town and Heritage Grant are the questionable ones. I have no clear data on where we are,” added Klempnauer.
“My concern is doing fundraising,” stated Plumtree. “My concern would be donating anymore (money) at this point with COVID-19 because we have no idea what we are going to be facing in the next few months, the next year or the year after.”
Many on council stated they wanted to see work on the clock continued.
“I don’t like the idea of giving up on the clock,” said Coun. Linda English.
“I don’t want to see the clock tower stopped but I would like to see it as part of the celebration. Whether it is this year or next year,” added Coun. Ray Coad.
With additional funding needed, some on council felt it wasn’t necessary to provide town money towards the project. Others argued taxpayer money should go towards the clock because it is a lasting image for the town and residents.
“I think taxpayers do have a role in this, maybe it’s not a big role but it’s for them. It is their project as much as it is anyone else’s project. I don’t have a problem with some taxpayer dollars going towards it,” stated Coad.
Another potential issue brought forward by council was around maintenance of the clock.
As any machine with moving parts is subject to break down, council was worried what costs could be in the future if things break down within the clock.
“I understand where you are coming from but I think your worry is not necessary for this simple reason. The way we have laid this out, everything can be done from the inside of the tower. So what can go wrong is a motor breaking down and that can be replaced for $50 or $80. It’s not that we have to buy new clocks. There is minimal upkeep,” replied Klempnauer.
Both Deputy Mayor Jake Wiebe and Coun. Marilyn Forchuk expressed their support in seeing the clock project move forward.
Klempnauer asked what would need to be done in order for the purchase of the clock and all other materials to move ahead.
“If you have every single penny needed to purchase everything you need us to purchase, I don’t see why we can’t do it,” answered Plumtree.
“It’s a done deal then,” stated Klempnauer.
Council carried a motion unanimously to contribute $10,000 from the Heritage Grant to the clock tower project.