News Local

Friday Carrotfest decision deferred to budget time

By Miriam King, Bradford Times

Costumed characters and a children's play zone were part of this year's Friday Night Carrotfest "pilot project."

Costumed characters and a children's play zone were part of this year's Friday Night Carrotfest "pilot project."

BWG Resident Michael Walsh was back before Council on November 7,  urging Councillors to turn down any extension of this year's “Friday Night Carrotfest” experiment.

Claiming that his concerns were not considered by the Downtown Revitalization Committee, he brought his plea directly to Council – suggesting that Sunday was a better day for an expanded Carrotfest, because it wouldn't create the same traffic chaos.

During the summer, ordinary rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon is combined with the rush of cottagers heading north; on Sunday, cottagers may be making the return trip, but there's no commuter traffic, he pointed out.

“Sunday would have less of an impact on residents,” Walsh said in Open Forum. Noting that a recommendation from the Downtown Revitalization Committee, to extend Friday Carrotfest, was on the agenda later in the meeting, he called for a recorded vote – and for any Councillors with downtown interests to declare a conflict of interest.

When the recommendation of the Downtown Revitalization Committee came to Council, both Councillors Gary Lamb and Peter Dykie Jr. declared a conflict, and stepped away from the debate.

Councillor Ron Orr, referencing Walsh's comments, asked how many traffic complaints had been received, relating to the Friday night Carrotfest event.

One, he was told by CAO Geoff McKnight - and although that might not be  the full number, “I don't believe it was a great number. I would have heard,” McKnight said.

Deputy Mayor James Leduc noted that the extension of Friday Night Carrotfest would “come down to dollars and cents” at budget time, but he spoke strongly in favour of continuing – noting that South Simcoe Police told Council that, with more manpower and both Marshview and Dissette St. open, they could manage the traffic.

The Friday night event was an opportunity “to support my community, and my business community,” Leduc said, noting that following this year's success, additional downtown businesses have expressed interest in participating.

“I think there's an overall benefit there,” he said, praising the “great kids' area, great Legends Live (tribute artists)... To me, that's a success. It's called marketing our town and our businesses.”

And if it disrupts cottage-bound traffic, “I don't mind inconveniencing them a little bit,” he said.

Council voted to receive the recommendation, for consideration at budget time.