Silver Bullet Ribfest not approved
by Sandy Lindsay

July 14, 2016

Town Council


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The Silver Bullet has lost the ribfest battle after the motion to approve it died at the July 11th Saugeen Shores Town Council meeting.

Without a mover or seconder by Councilors, the motion was automatically denied, which was a complete turn-around from Council's previous June 27th meeting where it was endorsed by staff.

The three-day ribfest would have been held at the Plex in Port Elgin and hosted by the private company, Saugeen Shores Ribfest Corporation (SSRC).

The permit required a payment of $3,474 (+ tax) to the town that would cover the rental of the parking lot and Plex washroom facilities.  In addition, Council agreed to a Noise By-law exemption for amplified music from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. for the two nights of August 26th and 27th.

Following application for an event permit and receiving potential endorsement by Council and staff at the June 27th meeting however, Port Elgin Rotary uncovered several areas of concern that raised a red flag for its members.

The Rotary Club, which holds its own ribfest on August 6th as a major fundraiser for the local Saugeen Memorial Hospital, pointed out that SSRC had included the Rotary address in its advertising and a map showing the 'Rotary Ribfest' location as opposed to the SSRC location of the Plex.  In addition, the SSRC had also linked its website to the Chamber of Commerce Events, leading the public to believe it was sanctioned by the chamber, which it was not.  "These actions makes one question the integrity, ethics and trustworthiness of the applicant ...", said Rotary Ribfest Committee Chair, Mark Kraemer. "The moves were an intentional attempt to confuse the public and to indicate ties to Rotary and the Chamber."

In a letter to the Mayor, Kraemer pointed out Rotary's concerns.  "This (SSRC) is a profit driven private enterprise that will not in my humble opinion leave anything of benefit in our community other than the $3,474 rental income ...

While Kraemer was unable to attend the July 11th meeting of Council as a 'delegation', he did speak in the Open Forum urging Council to reconsider granting a permit to the applicant.  "This applicant is here for one reason only and that's to make money. They are not interested in our community ... they will not be contributing anything to Saugeen Shores only taking from our people ... they have adopted an open market concept and will crush any opposition to their business."

Kraemer also said that the logo being used by SSRC was "...eerily similar to one that my wife designed three years ago for the Rotary ribfest."

He added that Rotary was not opposed to competition but only "... the advent of for-profit entities into our fundraising world.  If our motivation as a Rotary Club was to have a monopoly on these types of events, we would be opposed to the rib dinner being held by the Presbyterian Church some two weeks prior to our event."

Kraemer asked that, if Council approved the event, that it be moved six weeks down the road after the Rotary event which would mean holding it sometime around September 20th. 

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Mike Dunphy of SSRC also responded during the Open Forum detailing charitable organizations and events that he has been involved with.   He said that he had offered Rotary $5,000 in exchange for volunteer assistance at his event.

"Is it normal practice for Saugeen Shores to take recommendations from Service Clubs on events that take place ... has this ever been done before?"

He said that SSRC is " ... not a traveling group of rib connoisseurs as has been reported..."  We are hardworking entrepreneurs who risk our own finances to put on events.  The offer to Rotary was a personal guarantee on my part."

Kraemer said the $5,000 came with "conditions" that were unacceptable of how and where the money could be spent.  The offer was nothing more than "dangling" money added Kraemer.

Mark Kraemer

Dunphy said that he was not familiar with the town process and that he would have to "re-group and go from there."

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Thursday, July 14, 2016