Cornwall councillor proposes $86K celebration for Canada’s birthday

In this Jan. 12, 2016, file photo, Cornwall Coun. Elaine MacDonald participates in a city council meeting. MacDonald is proposing an over-the-top celebration for Canada's 150th birthday, which would cost the city as much as $86,000. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – City taxpayers may be shelling out as much as $86,000 to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday this winter.

City council faced a new business motion last night (Monday) to strike an ad-hoc committee to plan and coordinate events in December 2016 and January 2017 along the waterfront, in Lamoureux Park and Guindon Park.

The proposal by Coun. Elaine MacDonald would include $60,000 in lights (including installation) along the waterfront and the park, as well as clearing winter walking paths.

There is another $26,000 proposal for a skating rink in Guindon Park and a fishing derby at the Port of Cornwall.

It would have also allowed vendors to sell hot chocolate and other foods during the fishing derby.

“Find the money somewhere,” an animated MacDonald told councillors Monday night as she elaborated on an over-the-top celebration for Canada’s birthday, including lights along the waterfront “anywhere there’s electricity.”

MacDonald was of the understanding the vaguely-worded proposal was an endorsement to spend the money.

But some councillors, like Coun. David Murphy, were not comfortable committing up to $86,000 with nothing earmarked in the budget for the event.

A staff report will be coming back to council in August, which is expected to provide some direction and also give enough time to strike the ad-hoc committee and decide if there’s funding for the event.