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Politicians not willing to take on financial risk of hosting concert in Quesnel

The politicians are pooh poohing the idea of taking on the financial risk of hosting a concert at the West Fraser Centre, at least for now.

The idea was discussed at length at last night’s North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee meeting in Quesnel.

Mayor Ron Paull came out swinging against the idea right off the bat.

“I am certainly not in favour of the taxpayer subsidizing risk.  The taxpayer is well represented at the financial table in paying for debt retirement on the West Fraser Centre and for operating on the West Fraser Centre, and I would not vote in favour of allowing any risk.  That risk should be entirely on the shoulders of the concert promoters.”

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Not everyone was as opposed to the idea though, including Councillor Mitch Vik.

“I feel sometimes we have to demonstrate or prove a concept for others to take the reigns in the future.  But we need a more detailed P&L (profit and loss), if you will, on how the numbers could come to a break even, a combination of ticket sales versus number of seats and also estimates on alcohol sales and food sales.  I like the concept and feel the risk is manageable, but I feel like we need a little bit more meat on the bone here on how the P&L (profit and loss) would look.”

Jeff Norburn, the Director of Community Services, indicated that the cost to bring “The Reklaws” to Quesnel was in the range of 70 to 75 thousand dollars.

The idea was to charge in the nieghbourhood of 50 to 60 dollars a ticket.

Councillor Martin Runge wanted to know if a less expensive option would be better to start.

“What is the possibility of offering a lower cost band and still filling the arena ?   I think it’s a wonderful idea overall.  I’m just not sure if we should start with a monster band versus something that maybe costs us in the range of 20-25 thousand.  We still charge 35 or 40 bucks, we make money to subsidize some of these larger events.”

Runge also asked the committee what loss they would be comfortable with, if any at all.

In the end, the committee felt it didn’t have enough information to make a decision.

That led to a motion from CRD Area A Director Mary Sjostrom.

“I think if we’re being asked to do this we should have a budget, even if it’s a proposed budget, and get an idea of where the breakdown is because really all we’re talking about is one lump sum.  For me there is just not enough information and I would like to make sure we’re making the right decision, so I certainly support deferring it to have a little bit more information.”

A report will be brought forward from staff at the next Joint Advisory Committee meeting in February.

The proposed concert would be for Friday, July 21st, which is the week after Billy Barker Days.

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