Highland Games wants Town’s Money

On Monday (January 14 at 6:00 pm), the Town of Cobourg is holding a public Meeting to solicit input on the 2019 budget.  On the spot submissions will be accepted as well as written submissions in advance.  One of these is by Edgar Carman, President of the Cobourg Highland Games Society – he wants $9000 in a cash grant plus a $3984 in-kind grant.  It’s not clear to me why Edgar is going this route instead of the Community Grant process which required applications by October 31st.  He points to the big tourism benefit which brings “over 1,000 competitors and vendors plus the attendees from across Ontario and Northern United States. They fill the local hotels, motels. There is a positive impact on local tourism and local businesses such as restaurants, gas stations, etc.”

2015 Highland Games
2015 Highland Games

The games would easily fit into the category of:
Community Event: a recurring event that Council has determined provides some significant benefit to the community, and is open to all members of the public.

They would therefore be eligible – but will Council deny the application because it did not follow procedure? They followed procedure (sort of) in 2017 for a 2018 grant – they asked for $15,000 but it was denied. As far as I can tell, they did not apply by October 2018 for a grant.

Not content with wanting cash, Edgar also says that:

The current Electrical system in Victoria Park north of the Band Shell is in serious need of replacing to a more dependable system and more outlets with 110 and 220 volts for the vendors attending our games. Last fall Jason Johns reached out to us to get our input into what upgrades are needed. Please move this project forward as it directly effects how successful our games can be.



Since in 2018 the Town did not publish anything about who applied for grants and since Edgar did not mention that in his submission there was no way to know that he did apply through the correct process – see comment below by Suzanne Seguin.  (Thanks Suzanne).  It looks like his budget submission should be read as a backup or emphasis to his application and not stand alone.  However, it’s still of interest that the Highland Games is applying for a grant even though they had been turned down previously.

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Suzanne Seguin
5 years ago

Good Morning John, I just confirmed with the Town Clerk that the Cobourg Highland Games did indeed submit their request for a 2019 Cobourg Community Grant within the time limit. Council will be deliberating the Operating and Capital Budgets, including the Community Grants, during our March 7th COW Public Budget meeting beginning at 10 am in Council Chambers. A full schedule will be announced tonight at the public meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend.

John L. Hill
5 years ago

It will be an important test of Cobourg’s council. The previous council said all community grants needed to be submitted in a certain time frame so that all requests could be budgeted for appropriately. If our new council relents on this policy, it will set an unfortunate precedent allowing all community-minded groups to come before council whenever they choose to seek funding. Despite the worthiness of the Highland Games to our community, if they fail to abide by established procedure, a limitation period must be upheld.

5 years ago

Perhaps Edgar should ask the hotel and restaurant owners to pony up the funds he needs for his games.

Reply to  cornbread
5 years ago

Great idea! Why aren’t the food trucks and other vendors covering the costs of the games? Cobourg residents must pay to park at their own beach so why should out-of-town vendors who compete with our local restaurants get free parking? Shouldn’t those who profit cover all expenses so that Cobourg residents can watch the games for free? The town is already paying for Public Works to do the setup and takedown and cleanup. Where is that cost documented?

Reply to  Flora
5 years ago

Food trucks pay to be there. Why shouldn’t residents pay to have a pristine spot? Why should cobourg residents have free access to an expensive event? are you saying that merchandise should be free too? I don’t see many ,if at all, public works employees tearing down or setting up – that’s the volunteers who devote countless hours to ensure the games can go on while operating on a pathetic budget.