Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy to remain as “town event”

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The annual Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show will remain classified as a “town-organized” event though additional dialogue will occur between organizers and the town.

The issue was discussed at the Jan. 11 town council meeting with car show organizing committee chair Eleanor Renaud asking council to keep the show under the town’s umbrella.

Town council agreed to have the Amherstburg's Gone Car Crazy show classified as a "town event," as it has been in the past. There had been some concerns raised by administration.

Town council agreed to have the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show classified as a “town event,” as it has been in the past. There had been some concerns raised by administration.

Renaud said her family started the event, including her late husband and former councillor Paul Renaud, in 2006 as a way to promote the downtown and lend a hand to the businesses in the area. She said it started with 150 cars and has grown from there.

Last year, it had roughly 600 cars, 100 volunteers and 6,000 spectators, she told council.

“We have been labeled one of the best shows in southwestern Ontario,” said Renaud.

Without a sponsorship of the town and without town insurance coverage, it would put an additional $4,500 on the backs of car show organizers, she added.

“We operate on a small budget and try to make ends meet,” said Renaud.

Noting she understands the need to cut back, Renaud urged the town to at least keep the car show under its insurance. By later voting to keep it a “town-organized” event, the town will keep insuring the event.

“Why are you willing to put such a great event at risk?” she asked council. “If you don’t support our event, you are saying ‘good job, but you don’t matter.’”

CAO John Miceli said part of the concern is that, while the car show has been designated a “town-organized” event in the past, the town has no actual involvement or guidance in the event.

“We are offering insurance but we really have no participation in the running of the event,” said Miceli.

Miceli added that no one is disputing the merits of the event, but the town still has some concerns.

“It brings a ton of benefits to the community but we don’t have oversight in the management of the event,” he said.

Manager of municipal governance/clerk Paula Parker added that even if council had decided to remove the designation, the town would still have some liability risks.

Councillor Leo Meloche was concerned the event could move to another town if Amherstburg stopped supporting it. Councillor Rick Fryer called the car show “Paul’s baby” and said the town should not back away from supporting the show.

“It brings people to Amherstburg and that’s what it’s all about,” said Fryer.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo questioned what the difference was between the car show and the Canada Day festivities. Manager of business development and programs Rick Daly explained that town administration organizes Canada Day while a separate volunteer committee organizes the car show.

Miceli also voiced concerns relating to the financial accountability of the car show, noting the town would be interested in seeing financial statements. Committee member Debby Pajot responded by stating she has records dating back to 2008 and would be willing to share that with the town.

“If you want financial information, I have all that,” said Pajot.

Miceli emphasized that no one was questioning the merits of the show, but wants more dialogue between himself, Daly and the committee.

 

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