South Dundas EcDev to probe Renegade Bass

The South Dundas Municipal Center in Morrisburg, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

MORRISBURG – Before any money exchanges hands, South Dundas’ economic development officer will be fishing into whether the municipality is getting any bang for its buck sponsoring a fishing tournament.

Renegade Bass – a catch-and-release fishing tournament – was among three groups asking for money from the municipality this year. The other two are the Friends of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield and the Ottawa Carleton Plowmen’s Association.

The three groups did not go through the grants and donations to organizations process, where applications had to be in by the first week of December 2015.

But CAO Shannon Geraghty told councillors at Tuesday’s council meeting (Mar. 1) that Renegade Bass would be treated differently because the group had made a presentation to council, where it made its request during that Oct. 6, 2015 meeting.

At that time, Renegade Bass spokesman Paul Shibata and South Dundas Chamber of Commerce administrator Geri Fitzsimmons had asked for the same commitment for 2016 it received in 2015.

That was $3,000, plus the waiving of the South Dundas boat launch fees, thought to cost the municipality $1,500-$1,600. The chamber had kicked in $2,000.

It costs $1,200 per team to be in Renegade Bass. According to the 2015 application form, there was a $40 per team fee for launch fees for the season. That has been changed in the 2016 application form to a $40 “administration fee.”

Organizers have touted the tournament as bringing thousands of dollars into the municipality, at least $75,000 last year.

A full report from the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce on the economic impact of 2015 Renegade Bass had been promised to the municipality. As of this week, no report has been shared in an open council meeting.

This year’s money would go to a co-called media campaign – intensive advertising through a fishing radio show with two feature-length interviews about the municipality as well as name placements through the radio show.

Morrisburg won’t have the Renegade Bass Classic – the “Stanley Cup” championship of the tour in 2016 – like it did in 2015. But, it will have one of the four qualifying events on the regional circuit.

According to the Renegade Bass website, the fourth qualifying tournament is already scheduled in Morrisburg for Aug. 20, 2016.

The other locations are Seeley’s Bay, Big Rideau Lake and Cornwall.