Lift-Off grounding a sign of the times

The cancellation of this year’s Cornwall Lift-Off festival comes as no surprise. The festival has slowly been marching downward since it’s peak in 2010. Peak, because of the musical acts, which is what most people expect. This is not an indictment of anyone on the board, it’s tough to run a volunteer board, to balance what sponsors will pay for, what the public is interested in viewing, and make it affordable. The cancellation of this year’s Lift-Off is a sign of the times when it comes to festivals and really, community as a whole.

More and more events are becoming fragmented. You have Rib-Fest for those who like BBQ, and maybe to over-eat; Antiquefest for those who are into collecting old things; Car shows that are specific to car collectors; Bluegrass music festivals and the like. All of these speak to a niche-market or interest. The era of the generalized, one-size-fits-all, something-for-everyone shows and events are over.

Its sad that shows like this are largely a thing of the past. Growing up in the early-90’s, the best times of the summer was going to the Kingston Exhibition, driving up to the Ottawa Super-Ex (and sneaking into the Aerosmith concert in ’93), or even going to the Lansdowne Fair to see the demolition derby.

Everything fragments over time, Cornwall Lift-Off has suffered the same fate. The volunteers are commended for their work, and out of the cancellation of Lift-Off, we’ll likely see a few smaller, niche-market festivals pop up in the community.

Monte Out

Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Monte McNaughton is bowing out. Announced this morning, third-place McNaughton is stepping aside, supporting Patrick Brown in his bid to become leader. This was predicted almost two months ago here and makes sense. The Ontario PC members can focus on two clear and distinct visions of the party, Christine Elliott’s and Patrick Brown’s. One is the insider, has the support of many of the mandarins within the Ontario PC’s, and has a proven track record within the party. The other is the outsider, has the support of many in the grassroots and wants to do things differently.

Something Ontario PC party members need to consider is that the only way to unseat the provincial Liberals is to do something different. Ernie Eves, John Tory, and Tim Hudak all tried to move the party into the center, and be “electable” but blundered. Many of those behind the scenes in the party who supported those failed leaders, support Elliott. It makes sense, because an outsider like Brown would not necessarily see the need to keep those people around, the ones who have not gotten the job done. If I were Kathleen Wynne, I’d be rooting for Elliott to win the race.

How much for a website?

No offense implied to the good work that those behind the “Quilt of Belonging” does, but a $56,000 Trillium grant for a web site is a bit much. When the Request for Proposal(RFP) is issued for this web site contract, it will be interesting to see if it is tailored to one specific company, or if others will be able to bid. Being that the Quilt of Belonging is a non-profit, community-based group, it probably does not have to follow the same procurement rules that municipal, provincial or federal government has to. Perhaps it should. The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Province of Ontario. Monies from it should be under more scrutiny than money from private fundraising.

Same goes for the Agape Centre’s new $170,000 handicap ramp. While not being an expert in construction, that amount seems high too. Its great for both groups that they are receiving money to help their causes. But has anyone stopped to think that one of the reasons prices everywhere are going up, is due to government agencies paying inflated prices for nearly everything and never questioning it?

Fanning the flames to save money?

A heated exchange occurred at the April 7th South Dundas council meeting between the South Dundas Fire Chief Chris McDonough and Councillor Bill Ewing over a sole-sourcing deal for a new chassis for a fire department pumper truck. The sole-sourced deal would save the fire service approximately $20,000, taking a completed chassis from a cancelled order. So what is there to complain about here? The fire chief is trying to save the municipality and taxpayers money. Why is the councillor is complaining about the Fire Chief saving money?

Based on this exchange at the council table, and Mayor Delegarde having to say “Just hold on guys, hold on. That’s it! Okay? No more!” This writer wonders if a hose-truck is going to have to be on standby when the Fire Master Plan comes up for review shortly.

Go Sens Go!

Even this Buffalo Sabres fan (no judgement please) has to appreciate and support the amazing hockey drama coming out of this young Ottawa Senators team. An amazing, drama-filled, ride towards the 2015 NHL Playoffs. Hopefully this underdog team will squeak in, but a squeak it will be. They may not get far in the playoffs, but after a few seasons of losses for Ottawa, both on the ice and in the locker room, the Senators successes are reigniting that team’s fan support. That can only be a good thing. After the season, if Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond isn’t signed by Ottawa, I am sure Buffalo would certainly take him. It would be a good fit along with Connor McDavid.

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