Mayor Fred Eisenberger says the City of Hamilton needs to fight for its events in the wake of funding cuts from the Ontario government.
City council has recently voted to appeal to the Doug Ford government on behalf of local festival organizers, who have seen their provincial funding reduced or eliminated this year.
Councillors have voted to ask tourism and culture staff to communicate with Hamilton organizations that applied to the 2019 Celebrate Ontario fund and to report back on the outcome of their applications and the impact those outcomes will have on their events.
Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr says that, already, music festival Supercrawl is scrambling to replace $275,000 in lost provincial funding, while the city’s Festival of Friends is seeking another source of funding for $50,000 in expected financial support.
Farr notes that festival organizers were “caught completely off guard” heading into festival season.
Eisenberger says these are “great, beneficial events, and they’re going to be harmed.”
“Determining what that harm is is going to be critically important if we are going to fight back,” he added.
Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark was among those who supported the motion since it is careful to “not increase expectations that we’re going to backstop these things.”
Coun. Terry Whitehead agrees that municipal taxpayers can’t be expected to shoulder the burden.