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UPDATED: Petition to save Pass Creek Fall Fair

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
September 24th, 2014

The link to sign a petition letting the RDCK know you’d support taxpayer investment to save the Fall Fair is here: http://passcreekfair.com/
 

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The 19th Annual Pass Creek Fall Fair last weekend was, by all accounts, a screaming success … but will this popular regional event still happen next year?

That’s not a given, despite this year’s record crowds, according to Pass Creek Exhibition Society treasurer Donna Smith.

“This year was fantastic, with probably 4,500 coming through the gates,” she said. “We had a family from England who said they come here every year to visit family members, and they plan their holiday each year to include the fall fair – they said they don’t have an old-fashioned fair like that back home.”

Chris Popoff, of Dirty Diggers, raised $2,000 with his fall fair event, then matched it with $2,000 of his own for the local Bate family (see their story here http://www.gofundme.com/d9igxc ).

“I think it was possibly our best year ever,” Smith said.

Alas, despite the popularity of the event, Smith said there’s a very real chance it won’t be around next year – the society has asked the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) for $12,000 to pay for a caretaker for six months, without which they can’t keep the event going.

“My mom and dad, Don and Irene Hill, are 86 and 80 respectively and have been caretaking for free for 20 years. They just can’t do it anymore,” she said, adding it’s a big enough job to be beyond what they can reasonably expect of volunteers. “If we don’t get that paid position, we can’t keep going.

She said the society leases 20 acres from the RDCK, about five of which are developed.

“We fundraised as a society and built all of the buildings there, but the RDCK owns the land,” she explained.

Recreation director Jim Crockett said the RDCK’s recreation commission can’t yet provide an answer as to whether that will happen, as they are currently undertaking a park management study, which will include public consultation and open houses to determine best uses of the park. He said the first open house is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 5, but exact dates and times aren’t confirmed – they’ll be announced in local media and user groups will be informed when the schedule is set.

“Anyone who has an interest in that will have an opportunity to provide input,” Crockett said, adding they’re anticipating the study’s completion next spring.

In the meantime, Smith said there will be a petition at Johnny’s in Robson as well as one online for residents to sign, showing their support for RDCK’s investment in the fall fair (watch the Source in the coming week for more details on how and where to sign).

“It’s just a way for people to let the RDCK know that this is somewhere they’d like to see their tax dollars spent,” she said.

The entry charge for the fair has remained the same since it opened 20 years ago – $5 per person, with kids six and under welcomed for free.

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