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Two councillors opposed to process for choosing new Elvis Festival hosts

The town will still host the 2019 Collingwood Elvis Festival, which takes place July 26-28.
Councillor Deb Doherty. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

Two councillors pushed, unsuccessfully, for what they called a more “robust” selection process to determine the private enterprise that will take over the management of the Collingwood Elvis Festival.

Councillors Deb Doherty and Yvonne Hamlin advocated for a request for proposal process different from the town’s special events permit process.

“The Elvis brand is integrally linked to the Collingwood brand,” said Doherty. “It seems we should do this as carefully as possible.”

Council was given two options from staff, to use the town’s existing special event permit process to select a new Elvis Festival host, or put out a request for proposal (RFP) for a private enterprise to run the event, with the town still holding the licence for the event.

The first process operates on a first-come, first-serve basis, requiring the applicant to meet the requirements of various town departments (fire, police, parks, roads, etc). If the applicant does not meet those conditions, staff will move on to the next application. Currently, the town has three applicants interested in hosting the Collingwood Elvis Festival in 2020.

The second option allows staff to look at all bids and choose what they think is the best one. However, it means the town, essentially remains the host of the event and they are hiring someone to manage it for them.

Council voted in favour of following the special events permit process in a 7-2 vote with Doherty and Hamlin opposed.

“To me, this is not as robust of a process as compared to an RFP process,” said Doherty.

Hamlin asked if there was another way to be able to pick who “we” want to get the licence.

“First-come, first-serve, just doesn’t seem fair,” said

Dean Collver, director of parks, recreation, and culture, said Hamlin’s suggestion of picking who the town wants to run an event doesn’t follow the normal event permit process.

“We have the ability to not issue the permit based on concerns we have,” said Collver.

The town will still host the 2019 Collingwood Elvis Festival, which takes place July 26-28.

Town staff will use the special event permit process to select a host for the 2020 Collingwood Elvis Festival.

Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
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