KEARNEY – There may be a regatta after all, but it may not be in the hands of council.
Coun. Yvonne Wills, who has sat as chair of the Regatta Committee for the past three years, says the Town of Kearney is looking to sit down to make an arrangement with the Kearney Perry and Area Business Association (KPABA) to run the event.
A community support group comprised of Wills, Coun. Ken Ball and Coun. Steve Sainsbury will meet with the association executive membership to draft a memorandum of understanding and agreement that they can take back to council for agreement.
“We’ll have to go through our lawyers after we get the agreement struck to make sure the language is correct,” she said. “I’m not sure how it is going to go right now, but I have been given the go-ahead to sit with the executive.”
Mayor Paul Tomlinson says they are going to try to reach an agreement between the Town and KPABA.
“It’s not just a straight handover. There are a number of issues,” he said. “There are concerns over whether we hand the money over or not.”
He says they will decide whether, like the art show and the dogsled races, they will retain the funds and requisition the money and issue cheques.
“There are other issues like liability insurance,” he said. “They aren’t a committee of council so there are liability insurance issues and a whole myriad of things that have to be thought through.”
Tomlinson says council did resolve at the Friday, March 15 council meeting to agree in principle.
“The Kearney and Area Business Association is really in its infancy,” he said. “Once the money is out of the Town’s hands we have no control over it then at all.”
He says they will have to do some due diligence by looking at their articles of incorporation and audited finances.
“We have to be absolutely sure when we transfer the money, if we decide to do that, with confidence,” he said. “We have an agreement in principle for sure.”
Wills says no details have been hammered out as of yet.
Tomlinson says they are hoping to have a report back to council by the next regular meeting.
Wills has informed council that she will no longer be involved in the regatta as a council representative.
“We want it out of council,” she said. “It should never have been a council responsibility to begin with.”
She says she has told KPABA that if they do take over the annual summer event and it passes through council, she will make the arrangements for the Sunday night fire works and steel drum band performance as well as fundraising for the fireworks.
“That would be my volunteer portion,” she said.
The fireworks are put on by the fire department under the direction of the chair.
She says she will handle that aspect of the event for KPABA strictly as a volunteer, not as a member of council.
“I told (KPABA) that I will mentor them though the process but I can’t be actively involved in it,” said Wills.