It has been some time in the making, but Champlain Township council now has a Special Event Policy/Guide in place as a resource for organizers of special events impacting municipal roads, public parks and events taking place in municipal facilities.

A Municipal Community Events Coordinator (CEC) (Champlain Township’s communication specialist Zoe Fortin-Larocque) will be the primary point of contact for processing each event application. The guide will be used to assess the type of support the event might receive from the township, in addition to identifying needs for each event, such as road closures, insurance, etc.

The policy includes the creation of a Special Events Review Team (SERT), a standardized application form, a centralized intake and the appointment of the Community Events Coordinator.

The SERT will be comprised of the Community Events Coordinator, the Director of Parks and Recreation, the Director of Public Works, the Chief Building Officer, the By-law Enforcement Officer, the Director of Fire Services and the Clerk.

When a special event application has been received, the CEC will review the application for completeness and will prepare the application for circulation to the SERT. Each department will arrange for road closures, municipal significance requests, etc. The aim will be to provide event organizers about the township’s expectations in advance, improve communication and expedite processes.

In a report to council, Zoe Fortin-Larocque pointed to other communities in Ontario which have similar Special Event policies. The report stated that there is no other municipality in the United Counties of Prescott Russell that has a policy similar to this one, because none of them have a strong community involvement in events. The report explained that either their (0ther communities in Ontario) have events that are 100% organized by a municipal events coordinator, or there have only two or three events per year, compared to Champlain Township which has more than 30 events each year.

What is a Special Event?

The primary characteristics of special events include that they are open to the public, with the main purpose being a celebration or display of a specific theme with opening and closing dates and times. The program may consist of several different activities (performances, festivals, sporting events, etc.) with an anticipated attendance of more than 150 people.

Special Event applications should be made to the township 120 days prior to the event.

At the same meeting, Champlain Township repealed its appointment of Suzanne Hocquard as volunteer event coordinator for Champlain Township. This 2017 by-law was put in place when Hocquard was employed by Excellent Events.

In another motion, council voted to provide $500 per event to Excellent Events (which has historically organized several annual events in the municipality) for the Horse and Buggy Parade, taking place on July 10, 2022 and for the Parade of Lights, if it takes place in 2022. This latter event usually took place in Vankleek Hill on the first Friday in December. The parade event has not yet been confirmed.

Excellent Events had received $2000 annually to organize four events: St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Canadian Heritage Festival, Horse and Buggy Parade and the Santa Claus Parade of Lights.