Use big tent or lose it: RRFDC

Duane Hicks

Councils being contacted to
gauge interest
The Rainy River Future Development Corp. is looking for more groups to use its large events tent, or it just might have to sell it.
In a letter Fort Frances council received Monday night, RRFDC chair George Emes said over the past two years, the RRFDC has seen “a dramatic decline in the use of the tent, to the point where it was only used twice this summer.”
The RRFDC is contacting district municipalities in order to gauge the interest in making use of its big tent.
“The tent costs the RRFDC a considerable amount of money each year, to insure and maintain, and as the revenues once obtained from tent rentals have declined, the board is weighing its value in an attempt to determine whether to keep it or sell it,” Emes warned.
“We are, therefore, interested in learning whether to keep or sell it.
“To date, we have had to use an increasing amount of our municipal per capita funds to maintain the tent,” he noted. “We are, therefore, interested in learning whether area municipalities can see other uses for the tent, either for their own needs or by offering it to community groups.”
As municipal funds would be covering the costs for the coming year (2011), there would be no rental charge, Emes explained.
The only costs to the lessee would be the expert set-up fee of about $800, transportation to the site, and arranging for sufficient volunteer help to erect it safely.
“The RRFDC believes that it [the big tent] is a valuable asset and every avenue for increasing its usage should be explored prior to disposing of it,” Emes noted.
“Once it’s gone, it will be a long time, if ever, before it is replaced.”
He later added: “If we cannot determine that there is enough interest in utilizing the tent, we will be force to sell it.”
The RRFDC is asking municipalities to respond by February.
Town council referred the request from the RRFDC regarding continued usage of the events tent to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation, with input from the Economic Development Advisory Committee.
Coun. Sharon Tibbs noted Monday evening that the issue also should be on the agenda at the Rainy River District Municipal Association’s annual meeting in late January.