Council touting downtown site for special events

Town council wants to see more special events taking place on the ‘Old Hotel Site’ on the corner of Lakeshore Drive and 50 Street.

Town council wants to see more special events taking place on the ‘Old Hotel Site’ on the corner of Lakeshore Drive and 50 Street.

Councillors discussed potential uses for the site in light of the site’s omission from the mobile vending pilot project that begins this spring.

Coun. Megan Chernoff said she felt the site acted as a “fabulous location for special events,” and wondered how the Town could encourage more of them to take place on it.

Coun. Matt Prete agreed, and felt special events — as opposed to a more permanent fixture — would be the most suitable option for the site.

He said he’d like to see community groups make use of the site’s convenient location and functionality for their events and fundraisers.

“They’d have an area or location, it’s safe with the fencing, and it’s a fantastic venue,” he said. “That’s why I see it as a special events (site) as opposed to an ongoing business being there.”

Mayor Sean McIntyre noted that the now-defunct Shake the Lake festival had been previously held successfully on the grounds. That festival came complete with a stage, bouncy castles, mini-golf games, a halfpipe and “well over a couple thousand people,” according to McIntyre — “all at the same time.”

“As far as an attractor for downtown is concerned, that’s a huge attractor,” he said.

Chief administrative officer Betty Osmond offered councillors clarification on what may constitute a special event.

“If an organization wanted to put a busker or a food vendor down there, I don’t think you can justify that as a special event,” she said. “It is fairly broad, but we can’t take it to the point where we’re actually taking mobile vending and making it an event itself.

“I think in terms of what we’ve seen, we can pretty much accommodate anything we want.”

Council approved a motion directing administration, when renewing the lease for the site, to seek permission for special events to be held regularly on it.

The site may be utilized for temporary mobile vending only during special events.