SUMMERSIDE - The city is making a move to take over ownership and operation of the Summerside Lobster Carnival.
Councillor Jim Steele, chairman of the city’s community services committee, received unanimous support of city council Monday night to hire an executive director to organize the event.
“It won’t be exactly full-time,” he said. “It will be open-ended to bring in whatever management feels it needs at that particular point, but as far as I know, the city will be taking over lobster carnival.”
Following the 2013 edition, the Summerside Rotary Club decided to drop its ownership of the event after being involved for 55 years.
The year before, the other partner, the Summerside Legion opted out of the event.
An advisory board has been struck to review the 55-year-old carnival and how it can be restructured for the future.
Steele credited the hard work of both former co-owners for making the event a success over the years but the dwindling number of volunteers made the workload too much for either organization to continue.
“Councillor (Tina) Mundy has been working very hard with a group of people in the downtown business association to try and make this a success for 2014,” Steele said.
He said time is of the essence to start planning for the event.
“I was asked by the director of community services to present this motion this evening and it passed unanimously that we would hire this particular person,” the councillor said.
Steele said he hopes to have the position filled by mid-January, but wasn‘t sure if it would be someone already on staff with the city or a new employee.
“That will go back to management,” he said. “JP (Desroisers, director of community services) will be in charge of this person coming in. There will be ads going into the paper very quickly. Hopefully, before the end of December we can have ads in the paper to be able to bring this forth in January to have this person selected.”
Steele said the goal of going this route is to make lobster a stronger event.
“The people that were there before, they were all volunteers and they did a tremendous job for the city in bringing in so many people.”
Steele said the profits generated by carnival will go to the city’s general fund.
“The profits, if there were profits, would go back into the city coffers and we’d be able to distribute those back to community services areas such as the Boys and Girls Club or Generation XX. We’re hoping to bring them on board to be able to take some of these funds back.
"The other part is we’re hoping the lobster carnival executive director (position), with sponsorship coming in, would be able to stabilize itself where it can perform in paying for that person.”
It had been suggested that the profits would remain with carnival to be used as seed money for the following year‘s event.
“We’re not interested in that part of it,” Steele said. “We want to bring the money back to the community. It’s a community event. It draws in 10,000 people. It's all economic development for the city.”