Council cuts amount of funding being provided to Ride Manitoulin event

Bikes lined up at the Providence Bay Fairground glisten in the sun. There were 120 bikes registered at this year’s Ride Manitoulin photo by Ann Auxier

MINDEMOYA—Despite concerns raised, Central Manitoulin council has voted in favour of reducing the amount of its donation to the annual Ride Manitoulin event this year.

“This (donation) is an ongoing long-term commitment that we have made to the group,” stated Mayor Richard Stephens at a council meeting last week.

“I expressed my concerns with this at (office and administration) committee meeting,” said Councillor Derek Stephens. “It was through a municipal partnership that this event was actually started.” The municipality, “has been one of the biggest supporters of this event.”

“To reduce our support by $2,000 (this year) with no prior notice is not right,” said Councillor Stephens. “We asked for the (Ride Manitoulin) organizing committee for a financial statement and they have provided that. This funding donation cut is really going to hurt the event.”

“And the event brings a lot of people here who use motels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, and businesses on the Island. Bringing more money and people onto the Island is a good thing,” said Councillor Stephens. “I totally disagree with cutting our funding that much.”

“I echo Derek’s disappointment that we couldn’t do better,” said Councillor Alex Baran.

“A motion for a higher amount being provided was brought forward at the committee meeting but it was defeated,” said Councillor Pat MacDonald. “I agree cutting funding by $2,000 is drastic, and I do agree with providing a higher amount.”

Councillor Dale Scott noted that, “the Starlight Foundation received a donation of $3,500 from Ride Manitoulin last year. And other townships have been asked for funding. We basically donated the lion’s share of funding for a charity organization.”

Councillor Stephens said, “I agree to a point with what you are saying. But the committee has to pay for such things and the bands that play during  the event, and food that is sold to participants and visitors. It is not easy putting on an event like this. They do make a donation to the Starlight Foundation, but in turn this event brings in thousands and thousands of dollars in for businesses to pay their taxes.”

“I don’t want to see the event eventually die for a couple of thousand of dollars, and this could happen if the funding is cut off,” said Councillor Stephens.

“When I looked at the financials we did make made a $3,000 donation to  Ride Manitoulin (in 2016) and they in turn made a donation of $3,500 to the Starlight Foundation,” said Mayor Richard Stephens. “So this is a bit skewed.”

Council considered a motion from its office and administration committee “that we recommend to council that the municipality donate $1,000 to the 2017 Ride Manitoulin event.” Councillors Dale Scott, Linda Farquhar, Ted Taylor and Mayor Richard Stephens voted in favour of the motion, while councillors Derek Stephens, Pat MacDonald and Alex Baran voted against it.