Carnival keeps council connected

The Winter Carnival helped contribute to one of the best month's ever for accommodations in Rossland.

The Winter Carnival helped contribute to one of the best month’s ever for accommodations in Rossland, says the festival’s co-chair.

Larry Doell, co-chair of the 2013 Winter Carnival committee, said the annual event pulled people in from across the region and put over a half million dollars in accommodation revenue alone through the city, not including ancillary revenue from restaurants and shops.

Doell said Deanne Steven of Tourism Rossland reported that “the accommodation revenue for January was the highest month ever recorded at $526,000 which I would argue is as a large part due to Winter Carnival.”

Although that record was eventually eclipsed in March, the month still showed a massive surge in visitors to the city than in previous years, clearing the $500,000 mark for the first time ever.

Doell thought it was beneficial to meet with city council and outline a few of the highlights of the event for future reference.

“We did get a good bang for the buck and … I think this is clear: We would really be dead in the water without the city’s contribution,” he said to council on Monday night.

Starting on Jan. 24 and running to Jan. 27, the celebration of mountain culture contained over 30 events from the streets of Rossland to the slopes of Red Mountain.

Last year Canada AM held a party in conjunction with the carnival which brought out hundreds of people from 2:30-6 a.m. on Friday, and the unveiling of the Statue of Olaus Jeldness after the parade which had in attendance five visitors from Olaus’ birthplace in Norway.

“Their visit and the hospitality they enjoyed were recorded in detail in three Norwegian newspapers,” said Doell.

The budget for the carnival required a cash outlay of $30,000. Corporate sponsors donated $10,000—including $2,500 from the Nelson and District Credit Union—and the remaining $20,000 was generated by event registration fees and “revellers” at the Olaus Ice Palace.

In-kind donations totalled over $20,000. These services included communication and marketing, and accommodation and recreation packages given as prizes to winning participants.

The contribution by the City of Rossland cannot be over emphasized, Doell noted. From the preparation of the bobsled track down Spokane Street to the creation and removal of the Rail Jam on Queen Street, along with a variety of other chores, the success of the carnival depends on the cooperation by the city and the participation of their public works department.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that Winter Carnival is a very valuable part of the community, but it was a good thing to have,” said councillor Jody Blomme about Doell’s presentation.

Doell concluded by pointing to one question posed on the Rossland Chamber of Commerce’s questionnaire about the city providing in-kind services of $10,000 to prepare for the Winter Carnival.

“’Would you like to see the city continue to provide in-kind services for future Rossland Winter Carnivals?’ 88.2 per cent of respondents said ‘Yes,’” said Doell.

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