North Bay City Council accepted a report prepared by Community Event Facilitator Erin Vaughan concerning Summer in the Park.
Council has approved the transfer of the 2018 deficit of $244,586 to the SITP reserve account. As is the agreement, any future profits from the festival will be put towards these deficits, in the hopes of being able to balance the ledger down the line and eventually to build up reserves for the festival once again.
The recommendation in the report is for Council to refer the matter back to the community services committee to “determine the future [of] Summer in the Park,” and Council did just that.
Chair of Community Services Johanne Brousseau said afterwards a public meeting will be held to gauge the public’s interest in the festival. “I believe Summer in the Park needs to be rebranded, a rebirth, a redesign.”
In 2018, after moving SITP in a new direction with a venue change to Memorial Gardens and Thomson Park, rather than the previous locations in the downtown/waterfront area, concert ticket sales suffered and are being blamed by the committee for the losses. The City of North Bay contributed $80,000 in the last year of a three-year partnership. SITP generated $321,145 in revenue and incurred $565,731 in expenses, including the City’s financial contribution.
Asked if there is a chance Summer in the Park does not return, Brousseau says “I hope not because once you stop it, it’s hard to get it back in motion.” Brousseau foresees a smaller event with more community involvement, especially when it comes to choosing the entertainment.
Vaughan’s report concludes, “The Summer in the Park Committee, The City of North Bay and its partners believe that the festival is an important community event that not only provides an economic benefit to the community but also is a significant community development initiative.
“The committee feels it’s a good time to re-visit the festival as a whole to either preserve the future of North Bay’s largest annual event or to re-invent the festival in some other form.”