ARAC to give $15,000 to Carp Fair and four others

WEST CARLETON – A little good news for a very tough year for the Carp Fair, the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee (ARAC) is providing a $15,000 one-time grant to each of the five rural fairs within its borders.

“Ottawa is home to five rural fairs, and the agricultural societies that run them reinvest revenues back in to their communities,” city staff released in a statement today (July 8). “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all five fairs have announced they will not take place in 2020 and ARAC heard the city’s Rural Affairs office will provide a one-time grant of $15,000 to each of the fairs to help make up the shortfall the agricultural societies will experience as a result of the cancellations.”

“It’s just to help our fairs,” ARAC chair Coun. Eli El-Chantiry told West Carleton Online following the meeting earlier today (July 8). “They do a lot of great work in their community. They do a lot of charity work, so I think it’s time to do something for them.”

Its been an incredibly challenging year for the Carp Fair and the Carp Agricultural Society that organizes West Carleton’s most highly attended event. Not only did the society cancel ‘the best little fair in Canada’ scheduled the fourth weekend of every September, they have cancelled several other important fundraisers due to the COVID-19 pandemic along the way. The society cancelled scheduled 2020 events such as Men’s Night, Ladies Night, two of their four euchre challenges, the drive-in bingo series held in July and the annual truck and tractor pull.

The year before the society had to cancel the spring truck and tractor pull due to torrential rain just days before the event.

“It’s quite challenging,” 2020 Homecraft President Patricia Boyd told West Carleton Online the day the fair was officially cancelled. “Everyone is quite concerned about the lack of revenue. But there is funding available and we’re being fiscally responsible. Our fair board and our community is very resilient.”

All five fairs are vitally important events in their community and the agriculture societies that host the fairs are vitally important to their communities as well.

“Some of them are older than Canada,” El-Chantiry said.

In fact, the Carp Fair is three years older – this year would have been the 157th edition of the fair.

“They do a lot to help the community,” El-Chantiry.

Many of the events previously listed are not only fundraisers for the fair, but fundraisers for community members or organizations that need help.

Last year’s July 31 drive-in bingo proceeds were donated to the young Engelberts family when the father Connor Engelberts died in a tragic work accident.

Men’s night and ladies night always picks an individual, family or organization as a target for fundraising and in 2018 the Carp Fair donated $96,000 to West Carleton Disaster Relief to support tornado relief.

“Historically, the Carp Fair have been a great supporter of the community,” El-Chantiry said. “The list goes on and on. We’re grateful for their support and now it’s our time to help them out.”

 In other ARAC news

ARAC approved a temporary zoning amendment to relax regulations around restaurant and retail patios, to help encourage economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city would be more flexible about the size and location of restaurant patios and outdoor retail spaces, to help businesses accommodate physical distancing. Business owners could add patios and pop-up retail areas to private lands like parking lots, and nearer to residential areas than currently permitted.

This temporary change to regulations would apply until Saturday, Oct. 31. The city’s Planning committee approved this amendment on Thursday, June 25.

ARAC approved Official Plan and zoning amendments to allow for expansion of the Osgoode Care Centre – a long-term care home outside Metcalfe. The expansion will help ensure it can continue to serve seniors in rural Ottawa in the future.

Ottawa Fire Services can continue to operate a training facility at 4041 Moodie Drive after the committee approved fire research and training facility as a permitted use. Using controlled burns, Ottawa Fire Services has been training firefighters at this location for several years under a temporary permit.

Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to council on Wednesday, July 15.