Haliburton Ribfest and Dysart et al have reached a resolution over the money the event provides the municipality, according to event organizers.

Coun. Larry Clarke reported on Ribfest negotiations at the Feb. 26 council meeting. The Events and Programming Committee recommended approving the event to proceed Aug. 9-11 at Head Lake Park.

One of the points of negotiation is the amount the event donates to the municipality. In 2018, RibFest donated $2,500 to the community skate park.

“The park is a very valuable asset for this community,” Clarke said. “We still see it as not being a profit centre, but we’d like to see some money recovered from some of the events there so we could improve that facility.”

Ribfest organizer Ricky Brooks said in negotiations since the council meeting, the sides have agreed on a donation to a local charity to be limited to 10 per cent of gate receipts.

“When we promote Haliburton Ribfest, we are actually marketing Haliburton,” Brooks said. “We’re not asking for any funds and so in exchange, we’re asking the town not to place any mandatory financial fees.”

Mayor Andrea Roberts said the municipality does not have a bylaw or fee structure in place for the park.

“So a donation to a local charity is still a generous offer,” she said.

Coun. Walt McKechnie said given the park’s value, there should be more charged for groups to use it.

“You don’t get anything for nothing,” he said.

McKechnie also said as the committee pressed the issue, Brooks said he might have to pull Ribfest out of Haliburton.

Brooks said there is a misconception about how much money the event pulls in as food vendors keep their sales, separate from the event.

“People thinking we’re making lots of money when in fact, we are basically trying to make sure we cover our costs,” he said.

He further said the event did have a new location lined up. But after further negotiating, Brooks said he is happy.

“We’re going to continue the success of Haliburton Ribfest into its second year. We do not want to relocate.”

Clarke said pushing further on cost recovery with events will require more work on a fee bylaw first, which would not be complete for the 2019 Ribfest.

“We were pushing him,” he said. “But the reality is we have to have a fee bylaw in place.”

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