The Williams Lake Stampede Party will be going ahead with financial support from the City.
Williams Lake City Council endorsed a recommendation at Tuesday’s Committee of Whole Council meeting to financially allocate up to $10,000 for the Street Party.
“This committee was formed by local businesses and community members who were concerned that the BIA has stepped out of doing a stampede street party for a variety of reasons,” said owner of Poppy Home and Adventure Charters, Chrissie Gertzen.
“Some of us are local downtown business owners and see street party as an important part of our economics for the Stampede weekend. Other members like the Williams Lake Indian Band think that it’s an important event for the Williams Lake Stampede and are also interested in businesses in Williams Lake flourishing.”
Making up the organizing committee with Gertzen is Bob Sunner, Heidi Strong, Carl Johnson, and Willie Dye.
Gertzen said part of their objectives in keeping Street Party going is showcasing local businesses and artisans, and that it’s important to not only the community but to the population of tourists that come to our city for the Williams Lake Stampede.
“Judy was telling us historically they’ve had as many as 10,000 people visiting the downtown core as part of street party, and I think whether you’re an established business or a new business that’s important exposure.”
Gertzen added that the proposed budget of $16,485 is in line with what the BIA has used in previous years, and includes many of the same things the BIA has historically put into Street Party including vendors, food vendors, local artisans, and local community group presentations.
“There’s been lots of support from the community in terms of community groups and from the businesses themselves,” she said.
“Judy, Heidi, and myself have been knocking on doors for the last four days to get some interest for sign off on the street closure and we haven’t’ had a single no which is wonderful, and there seems to be a renewed energy from the local downtown businesses that was generated by the thought of street party not happening this year.”
“Just to be clear the BIA has always run a very successful street party and we’re just going to be building on their success.”
Mayor Walt Cobb and Council spoke in favor of supporting the Street Party.
“It’s one of the busiest weekends that we’ve got in the community, and the last thing we want to do is invite all these people to town and then close the door and not have parties,” Councillor Scott Nelson said.
As well as endorsing the recommendation to allocate up to $10,000 through the former Economic Development Commission that is presently being dissolved, the City will also be requesting the BIA to make a financial contribution.