Funding hike for fireworks wanted

Duane Hicks

The Fun in the Sun committee is asking the town to allot more money for fireworks in its 2016 budget, increasing the annual contribution from $5,000 to $7,500.
“Each year, the July 1 fireworks show is one of the biggest community events in Fort Frances,” FITS committee member Dave Coates said in a letter to council.
“Through my involvement in putting on the show over the past 14 years, I have seen the costs associated with the show increase every year,” he noted.
The Town of Fort Frances has donated $5,000 to the show each and every year.
The FITS committee has managed to make up for the increase in costs through fundraising, sponsorships, and personal donations, as well as by reducing the amount of fireworks ordered, Coates explained.
Unfortunately, with recent events in China (namely, the Nanming Chemical Co. Ltd. plant explosion in Tianjin), the committee is expecting the cost in product and shipping to increase by 15-20 percent this year.
As such, the committee would like council to increase its fireworks donation to $7,500.
With this additional money, along with that from all other sources, the group is confident it can put on a show the whole community can enjoy, Coates concluded.
In related news, the FITS committee is in need of more volunteers if Canada Day celebrations are to continue, Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig said after reading Coates’ letter during Monday night’s meeting.
“We really need to reinvigorate that Fun in the Sun committee because traditionally that’s been a lot of work that’s been done in the community through volunteers,” he noted.
“But in the absence of volunteerism, for this ‘Fun in the Sun’ thing, I can’t see the town providing a full day of activities that have [been] done traditionally by the volunteers,” McCaig added.
He said the town will be soliciting for more FITS volunteers in the near future to ensure Canada Day activities take place here in 2016 and beyond.
“Otherwise, it’s going to just be fireworks,” McCaig warned.
He added planning for next year’s celebrations has to start early and start now.