Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is It Time For "Elvis to Leave the Building" a.k.a. Collingwood?

I have read with interest, minutes from the Elvis Festival Services Board and public comments regarding the much ballyhooed Elvis Festival. A recent letter to the Editor sent in by Al Truscot of Collingwood and published in the January 14th issue of the Connection stated that after 10 plus years and ongoing controversy, it was "time for Elvis to leave the building." Recent newspaper reports and Services Board minutes indicate that last year's festival is expected to lose somewhere around $23,000. It was further stated that no one knows for sure because not all of the expense invoices, revenue and other financial pieces to the puzzle have been completely tallied up and accounted for. Not to criticize those that pour their heart soul and time into running this event but any company or organization worth it's financial salt even if run by volunteers, have their books closed and financial statements prepared within 2 or 3 weeks of a month-end and within as many months for a fiscal year-end. It has now been six months since last year's event and we still do not know how much "red" ink is expected to flow down the Town's ledger sheet for this enterprise. If after over 10 years of running this event, the organizers have yet to find a way to efficiently and effectively run this function as a business, in support of local business, wherein it can turn a profit or at least break-even and the financials are duly and accurately accounted for within weeks and not unknown after months, it's long past time to close the doors of this Heartbreak Hotel. Countless man-hours are added to the municipality's payroll running this affair and unless detailed time sheets are kept, I dare say this added payroll expense to the Town is probably not fully accounted for. A private promotions company ran the event for what 1 year? What does that tell you? Probably that it's a loser! The royalty fees paid to Graceland are going up, interest/attendance is apparently going down and many locals are sick to death of the whole affair. With a potential loss of $23,000 or more, every man, woman and child that permanently resides in Collingwood is on the hook for $1.33 to cover the event's 2008 deficit. Is it time for Elvis to leave the building? Well you be the judge but if nothing else, after over 10 years it's time for the Town to spend their resources, human and otherwise on the critical issues facing this municipality. It is unlikely that any number of sequinned jumpsuits are going to turn this event into the financial jewel we are lead to believe that it is.

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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.