The future of Port Moody’s Ribfest will be considered by council at an upcoming meeting.
But if the positive vibes expressed by councillors at last Tuesday’s committee of the whole are any indication, a three-year extension of the city’s support for the annual event put on by Port Moody Rotary shouldn’t be a problem.
In a presentation to councillors, the club’s past president, Ian MacPhail, said the three-day festival attracted 45 to 55,000 people to Rocky Point Park last year. He estimated about 30 to 40% of those were visitors from outside the city.
“That’s a substantial number of people coming into Port Moody,” MacPhail said.
Coun. Zoe Royer praised the event as “an incredible success story” since it began as a fundraiser for Rotary five years ago, adding, “I’d like us to continue that.”
MacPhail credited the city with having a substantial role in that success with its annual contribution of up to $35,000 per year of in-kind support by paying policing costs, renting portable toilets, managing garbage disposal as well as fencing.
“We’re very appreciative of the support we’ve received from council,” he said, adding in return, the Rotary Club has been able to donate tens of thousands of dollars to local organizations like the Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society, Eagle Ridge Manor, Share Family & Community Services and the Port Moody Soccer Club.
In 2018, Rotary’s proceeds from its Ribfest were $92,000 and it was able to put $82,000 back into various community projects.
Port Moody Soccer’s president, Matthew Campbell, said several teams in his club have been able to travel to out-of-town tournaments because of support from the Rotary Club. More importantly, he said, many young players have learned valuable lessons about volunteerism by helping out at the event.
“For us, it’s been an absolutely terrific partnership,” Campbell said.
Coun. Hunter Madsen said the city’s partnership with Rotary has also reaped dividends beyond dollars.
“Ribfest has become part of the brand of Port Moody,” he said.