Old Home Week disagreement prompts calls for organizational changes

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Old Home Week disagreement prompts calls for organizational changes

The general manager of Old Home Week says the event board's ongoing disagreement with one of its partners — Red Shores — speaks to a organizational problem that needs fixing. 

Old Home Week's board voted Wednesday to suspend this year's event, pending an agreement with Red Shores over the use of its parking lot. 

"Right now, our structure is that we're all individuals. We're different entities trying to put on one event," said general manager Sandra Hodder-Acorn.  

'Different entities trying to put on one event'

Hodder-Acorn said Old Home Week's board oversees the event's agricultural fair, entertainment, and midway every year, which take place on Red Shores and Eastlink Centre property.

The harness racing component of the week is organized by Red Shores and P.E.I.'s Harness Racing Industry Association. 

Each year, all the groups come together to try to agree on a plan for Old Home Week. 

Charlottetown's mayor Clifford Lee has sat in a lot of those meetings, and said clearly, the structure doesn't always work. 

"Should we have four or five different groups trying to put on one festival? That's problematic in itself," said Lee.

"It probably needs to be managed and organised as one festival as opposed to different interest groups doing their own little thing."

Changes in the works 

The event's general manager said all the partners agree with that assessment.

In fact, Hodder-Acorn said they're planning to get together soon to start looking at setting up a single governance board to run the entire Old Home Week event. She said that board would include representatives from all of the groups. 

"Governance would probably be set up by a third party," explained Hodder-Acorn.

"They would do up a business plan, perhaps some policies. If we had a request for a certain item or certain event, then that request would go to the board … It takes individual interests kind of out of it, and there are not so many people around the table."

Hopes to settle agreement with partners

Hodder-Acorn said the current Old Home Week board wants to settle on an agreement with its partners that will be in effect for next year's Old Home Week, and continue until a governance board is formed.

The event board wants that agreement to include a guarantee from Red Shores that its entire parking lot will be reserved for the Campbell's amusements midway. 

So far, Red Shores hasn't offered that guarantee, despite the board's move to suspend the event until an agreement is reached. 

A spokesperson for the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, which runs Red Shores, said Thursday that the corporation is still working to understand the concerns of the board. 

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