The Salmon Arm Folk Music Society has had two wishes granted.
City council decided Monday to provide an additional $50,000 to the Roots and Blues Festival in the city’s revised budget to help assist with an operating shortfall for the 2015 festival.
Council also gave initial approvals necessary to allow the society to move its headquarters.
At Monday’s council meeting, Coun. Alan Harrison explained why he approved the financial contribution, which council OK’d unanimously.
“From my seat, the reason we’ve supported it is because we value that festival, we want it to continue to happen. I think it’s good for the city and we want to do our part.
“I think there will be benefits to the citizens of Salmon Arm,” he said, adding, “We don’t plan to offer $50,000 every year, but we will this year. I know members of the board are working very hard to make the festival sustainable and we’re on-side.”
He said the money is available because the city has had a very good year for building revenue – about $50,000 more than was projected.
The folk music society will be receiving $95,000 for the festival in the city’s 2015 budget: $45,000 as a specific referral that was approved earlier and the $50,000 approved Monday.
It was noted that a study by Thompson Rivers University showed the festival generates $4.5 to $5 million for the community.
The society also came to council to request support for a rezoning. The change in zoning would allow the society to move its offices up the road from the log building on Fifth Avenue SW to a city-owned property with a single family home at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Third Street SW.
On Monday, Salmon Arm council voted unanimously to give first two readings to rezone the R-1 residential lot at 541 Third St. SW to P-3, institutional. Amendments to the P-3 zone included adding caretaker suite as a permitted use, along with limited, screened outside storage. A public hearing and potential third reading will take place Nov. 10.
At the city’s Oct. 20 planning meeting, Bernd Hermanski, a folk music society director, told council members that the society’s board has been trying to get access to the property for about six years.
“It’s so well-located to the festival site, it’s always looked appealing to us.”
He said the rent on the log building has been climbing and is going up to $1,600/month. With the festival currently in a tough financial situation after a loss this year, having an asset like the property at the other corner of the fairgrounds “would give us some control over costs.”
The society rents from the Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association, which puts on the annual fall fair.
Hermanski said the society would start using the proposed building as office space, but would also like to have a caretaker suite where the artistic director, Peter North, could stay when he comes to Salmon Arm from his current home in Edmonton.
He said North comes here once a month for the board meeting and then, immediately before the festival, would stay about a month. A bedroom and kitchenette would be useful.
“Would it become a full-time residence? It might, it could, but we don’t know,” explained Hermanski.
He also said some outside storage at the new site would make sense.
Regarding timing, he said the board would like to make the move before next summer’s festival but he’s not sure if it would be possible.
“Our first goal is to put on the festival and we hope to have a better year next year.”
Although a tenant now resides in the house, city staff said they have been given notice and will be out by Jan. 1, 2015.
Kentel said she expects the agricultural association won’t be pleased.
“We’ll hear from the fall fair regarding this…”
Hermanski offered his acknowledgement. “It certainly will be a loss to them. We’re hoping someone else might want to rent.”