By Mike Williscraft
Grimsby’s Happening at The Forty is looking for help on a new organizing committee – immediately.
Earlier this month, the organizing committee voted to disband the committee and give away about $15,000, the event’s operation nest egg.
While some members of the committee asked those who wanted to disband for more time to find new volunteers, proponents of the dissolution were not swayed.
“The majority of the board had felt like they were satisfied with the time they had given and what their efforts had resulted in,” said committee chair Mark Woods.
“They were satisfied with the role they had played and the money they had raised to keep this event going. Being unsure of what would happen if the majority just walked away they chose to exercise their right to dissolve the board. This would allow them to
decide the fate of any remaining funds that had been raised.”
For Grimsby’s director of recreation, Sarah Sweeney, the move came as a shock and she has set about immediately seeking replacements to keep the long-time Grimsby event going.
“The Town – which holds one vote on the Committee (Trevor Ruzlyo) – and a few of the citizen members were asking for more time, in an effort to rebuild and maintain the Committee, but unfortunately that request was not accepted by the majority,” said Sweeney, noting the board is not a committee of the Town.
Woods said the charter struck when the committee was formed a few years ago – when Happening in the Park and Festival at The Forty merged – gave the board the right to dissolve and donate its funds to charities.
“Wanting to have some say over where the funds they raised went, dissolving the board seemed like the best way to ensure the remaining money found its way to a good home,” said Woods.
But why dissolve?
“The few members wishing to try to form a board had no plan of any kind put together and still have every right and ability to put together a new board,” he said.
“The only thing stopping continuity here is a lack of people willing to step up and put in the work. Find those people, and the decision by the previous board becomes irrelevant very quickly.”
For Sweeney, the question is not if, but when.
“There are a lot of great aspects to the events that were being held, and the Town is looking forward to developing new partnerships and opportunities for these type of special events in the coming year,” said Sweeney.
“While the outcome of this is disappointing, the Town appreciates all of the hard work that has been invested in these events and feels confident that new opportunities will emerge to ensure that these community building events carry forward in some form.”