News Local

Fanny float asks Port Hope council for help


Float Your Fanny's starting point at Sylvan Glen Conservation Area.
PETE FISHER/Northumberland Today

Float Your Fanny's starting point at Sylvan Glen Conservation Area. PETE FISHER/Northumberland Today

PORT HOPE - What do you call 22 kilometres of winding river lined with 10,000 laughing and shouting spectators watching 350 brave souls bounce over rocks and rapids in the brisk weather of spring?

Port Hope's Annual Float Your Fanny Down The Ganny. It is an annual event that has been grown in popularity and increasingly draws crowds from far outside Port Hope.

But its success is putting pressure on organizers beyond their capacity to manage.

The co-chairs of the event, Barry Adamson and Barrileigh Price, appeared before Port Hope council committee of the whole Tuesday evening to explain the bind the volunteer organization is facing.

This spring he said, a record number of Crazy Crafts registered (69), 43 canoes and kayaks started the race. (42 finished) There were 362 participants on the river. Thirty-four vendors in attendance. As well, over one thousand children went through the Kids Zone Craft tent and 500 faces were painted.

The problem is there is a need for more help. There is not enough volunteers even though on the day of the event upwards of 100 volunteers were involved. Organization of the event leading up to the day involved six volunteer managers, he said, one of which had to withdraw. The problem is, "our need for more skilled weekend volunteers increased but they have become harder and harder to find."

"Last year we also had to pay for some administration time because the commitment was just too great for volunteers "¦ (this year) the five of us pulled it off, with less and less on the day of volunteer help."

The event has become significant enough that "Fire Chief Ryan took over all emergency planning and operations with a command post and many paid firemen working the event."

Retiring volunteers have left the co-chairs with, "not nearly enough manpower to run an event of this magnitude," he says.

Mr. Adamson also predicted that there will be a need for more safety structures, paid security and safety personnel going forward. Additionally, he said parking was becoming a major issue.

"Where do 10,000 people park?" he asked.

As the logistical demands have grown so too have financing needs. He suggested the organization needs a fund raiser working on commission, part-time book keeping services and possibly a full or part-time paid organizer.

Council members appeared sympathetic to Adamson's quandary and Coun. Les Andrews said he plans to work with organizers to draw up a plan for going forward.

"When you put the information together you could not pay for the kind of advertising and branding we get (due to the event)," Mayor Bob Sanderson said. "It's falling down to a couple of people to carry this load. It is very easy to step back and let them do it but I really do believe that an event that is this important to the community, that is this popular on a national basis "¦ that we get more involved and partner with this. Participation does not carry any financial reward for the community. But there is a huge financial impact and we are going to determine. There are a lot of peripheral and ancillary benefits. People come back "¦ people are coming to the area."

Port Hope app

Forget watching a cozy digital fire burn non-stop. If you download the Port Hope App you can watch the Fish Cam! What could be more fun that watching live fish move up the fish ladder on the mighty Ganaraska River? Not much. The activity is more exciting than counting sheep by any estimate. And you will not get wet.

Town Councillor Robert Polutnik announced during the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday that the app is live and working well.

He pointed out that the app by Cundari is the one that has been built in conjunction with the municipality's manager of marketing and tourism, Kevin Narraway.

According to Polutnik, many events of the town are listed on the Port Hope app that go well into the next few months. As well, the listings for food, restaurants and the Farmer's Market are there.

He says the data for the site is pulled from Google. Shop owners, he claims, who do not update will not find the latest information about their business listed.