Major concert gets tentative go-ahead
Clearview Township council has agreed to issue a special event licence that will allow a large-scale music concert to take place at the Great Northern Exhibition Fairgrounds in August, once organizers have met certain provisions in the municipality’s special events bylaw. “I’m very impressed with the process and very happy with the result,” said producer George Roche of Lucid Productions, the Innisfil-based company presenting the concert. The decision to issue the licence once conditions are met was made by council – but not supported by all members – last Monday after bylaw officer Phil Snape recommended the course of action. Snape has been working with Lucid since February to facilitate the company’s request for a licence. Council also agreed – again not unanimously – to exempt the Aug. 8 event, dubbed Clear-Fest, from Clearview’s noise bylaw. The exemption will be in place from noon to 11:30 p.m. the day of the event. Members of council also accepted – but again not unanimously – a recommendation from Snape that Lucid Productions be exempt from having to fulfill certain financial obligations required by the special events bylaw. The concessions were recommended by Snape and agreed to by council in order to help get the fledgling event – which organizers will use to help raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society – off the ground. Those against granting the concessions were Ward 4 councillor Thom Paterson and Ward 5 councillor Robert Walker. The two men raised concerns about removing conditions for a group the municipality really knows nothing about. “There is a lot that could go wrong,” Paterson said. Still others, such as Ward 7 councillor Shawn Davidson and Ward 1 councillor Doug Measures, defended removing the provisions. Davidson said the township has to take some comfort in the preliminary dealings that staff have had with the event organizers. “If we have a comfort level from our staff…let’s move forward,” he said. Measures pointed out the township should find some comfort in the event and the intentions of organizers because the fairgrounds board is prepared to lease its site for the event. Roche said after the meeting Monday that he understands the point of the well-intentioned scrutiny that events receive from the municipality and pledged to present an event that everyone will respect. As a result of the leniency that council granted, Lucid Productions will not need to submit a $10,000 letter of credit, normally required to ensure compliance with the requirements of all approval agencies. The Collingwood Agricultural Society, which owns the fairgrounds, also won’t have to provide a $10,000 letter of credit, normally required for the same reason as noted above. Lucid will also only have to give the township a $2,500 deposit – instead of $5,000 – to cover any direct costs incurred by the Clearview Fire Department, bylaw enforcement or public works, should these departments need to aid the event site. As well, Lucid Productions won’t be required to provide a $10,000 letter of credit to cover any additional emergency services costs that might come about because of the event. Conditions that Lucid must meet to be granted the special event permit involve submitting detailed information about the event to the bylaw office – something company officials have been doing over the last couple months. Information about how event facilities will be set up on the site is required, along with proof the event is properly insured. There must also be proof that all public health and safety requirements have been met. Snape said he expects the township will be able to issue a special event permit to Lucid Productions about a month before the event. Roche said he aims to make the concert an annual signature event in Clearview Township. This year several area artists and bands have agreed to perform at the event, including Dave Whitey Somers, Chuck Baker, Random Robbery, The Lucid – Roche’s group – and Michael Beauclerc. As well, Roche is promising two Juno Award-winning groups but said he’s not ready yet to release their identity. Roche said some production details need to be worked out first. He anticipates the concert will draw between 4,000 and 5,000 people to the fairgrounds, located northwest of Stayner. To ensure the safety of everyone, he said private security will be on the scene throughout the event. “I believe the event is beyond safe,” he told council last week, reiterating comments he’d made the week before when giving an overview of the event. A report from the bylaw department notes the Ontario Provincial Police requires seven officers at the event and possibly auxiliary officers as well. The report also states that Simcoe County Paramedic Services requires one ambulance and crew at the site. In terms of food safety, the report notes the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit requires food preparation permits from vendors – permits that must be issued about one month before the event. Roche said that once expenses are covered, Lucid will make a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society. Joyce Mayne, the fundraising coordinator at the society’s Barrie and district office, was at council two weeks ago to indicate the society is aware of Lucid’s intentions to donate money. “These activities or events are run independently from our society-led initiatives and provide a great way for people to fulfill their philanthropic goals, make a difference in their communities as well as promote awareness about the programs and services we offer,” she added in a letter to the fairgrounds board that was included in Snape’s report. Roche said that tickets to the summer concert would be available in the next two weeks, along with details about where they can be purchased. They will sell for $25 each for adults and $15 for youth age 12 and under.