Cloverdale hit with blueberry blues

CLOVERDALE – It was a beautiful, sunny day in Cloverdale on Monday but some people had the blues after it was revealed the annual Blueberry Festival would not come to fruition this year.

 

"We had a bit of a perfect storm occur and unfortunately we had some fallout in terms of support from sponsors," explained Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale BIA, which puts on the event.

 

"So without getting into great detail or pinning blame on any one of the people who had sponsored us in the past, we basically fell quite short. Because of the financial commitment required for an event of that size… we felt we needed to postpone it."

 

The announcement was made at the BIA’s annual general meeting Monday, and Orazietti acknowledged there is a "huge emotional attachment" to the event in the community, which would have seen its 12th iteration in 2015.

 

"It wasn’t necessarily a money maker for everybody but there was a lot of positive spin-offs for different businesses," he said. "The reaction is emotional. I think part of all of this is like anything else, when you’re a family and you’re going over your bills and your budget and you have to make a shift then you have to live within your means."

 

According to Orazietti, the event costs roughly $50,000 to put on, almost half of which comes through sponsorship.

 

"You hate going out with cap in hand, but you do sometimes need to tell people that we want to carry on, but we need more help. We need more financial support," he said. "We have to really build up our volunteer base and get people fundraising and try to make it self sustaining."

 

While the BIA is calling on the community for volunteers, sponsorship and donations, Orazietti said it would be difficult to save this year’s festival.

 

"But putting the seed money together for next year would be really desirable," he added.

 

Also postponed is the community’s annual Halloween event, which drew many children to the area.

 

A ‘STRATEGIC SHIFT’ IN SPENDING While sponsorship decline led to the cancellation of the two events, so did the BIA’s decision to make a "strategic shift" in the way it spends its dollars.

 

Extra funding has been earmarked for a "gateway sign" at the corner of Highway 10 and Highway 15 – which would be the largest sign in the area – aimed at attracting more people to the businesses there. Beautification initiatives are also planned for the area, particularly along Highway 10.

 

Orazietti said the corner sees some 75,000 vehicles pass by each day, and the BIA hopes to capitalize on that.

 

"There were a number of contributors and people and businesses along Highway 10 that had been putting in reasonable amounts of money and not seeing anything occur in their immediate area. So from that perspective there needed to be a balance," he said.

 

"The gateway sign is something we’ve talked a lot about and this is very much doing what other established communities like Fort Langley and White Rock have done. When you go to those communities you get a sense of arrival…. If you drive by and you can’t see where you are and you have all these people driving by and they don’t realize they’re going through Cloverdale, it’s a lost opportunity."

 

Also this year, the BIA is increasing the amount of money it allocates toward safety and security, including graffiti removal and new cameras at hot spots in the area.

 

Also at the meeting, Orazietti said the BIA heard concerns about retail gaps in the community.

 

"We’re trying to build more local opportunity for boutique businesses and that to come into the area," he explained. "A lot of what we’re doing right now is trying to encourage more people come here. In doing that, money had to be allocated towards a website and expanding the information on being able to see what’s going on here, finding out what sort of space is available and things like that. So business recruitment is a big thrust…. There’s infill that can occur in several different locations."

 

Orazietti said one of the biggest frustrations expressed at the meeting was what will be done with the old Safeway site due to the "lack of details" about what will happen there.

 

"It’s the densest part of the town centre and it’s the glue that ties the properties together on either side of the highway."

 

areid@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

Crashes pile up as snow blankets Surrey

Up to 10 centimetres of snow is in the forecast

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Surrey pastor in concert with songs from her new ‘Psalms for a Peaceful Heart’ CD

‘Incredible’ church sanctuary in Whalley a stage for Lori-Anne Boutin-Crawford’s music

Plan to redevelop former Surrey motel site too dense, says Coun. Pettigrew

Pettigrew: ‘We need to build liveable community with green spaces… not massive zones that are densified’

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

Ex-Langley spiritual leader cleared of stock trading allegations

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

Most Read