Times are not so golden for the Golden Spike Days Society.
Sally Comin, president of the Port Moody organization that has hosted the summertime Golden Spike Days Festival for 35 years, spoke to Port Moody city council Tuesday to ask the city to forgive $14,000 worth of debt.
"We were planning to pay back $5,000 this year but, given that we are still in some hard economic times and sponsorship isn't where it used to be, and also some of the uncertainty of putting on a weather-dependent festival, we've had to cut that to $2,500."
Comin said that despite grossing about $5,000 from last year's festival, which ran July 1 to 3, the society could only pay $2,000 towards its outstanding loan in 2010.
"This year, we have slashed our budget considerably for entertainment and staging... and are also encouraging people to bring their own equipment such as tents and tables," she said.
Comin added that the necessary austerity of this year's Golden Spike Days would bring a back-to-basics ethos to the festival, initially created to commemorate the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway's arrival in 1882.
"We are planning on going back to the old days and having fun children's activities such as three-legged races, egg-on-the-spoon races, potato sack, tug-of-war."
The society will also hold pub fundraisers to help pay for this year's events.
"We humbly request that we be forgiven in part, if not all, of the debt, as it has become quite evident that we will only be able to pay it back in very small increments and we'd love to be able to get ahead financially," Comin asked city council.
Council will address the society's request at a future meeting.
Other city news:
A petition bearing more than 80 signatures was presented to Port Moody council Tuesday on behalf of residents tired of losing sleep due to the noise of freight trains on the Ioco spur line.
And it seems those quiet-seeking complainants may have found a sympathetic ear in their mayor - and neighbour - Joe Trasolini.
Resident Russ Smith brought the petition to city hall, asking council to intervene to stop CP Rail from running freight trains along the Ioco tracks between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Smith said he, some other residents and city representatives met with a CPR community advisory panel in September and most recently in March, when Smith said CPR told them they would try to have all train traffic out of the Ioco corridor by 9 p.m.
But that hasn't been done, he said.
Smith produced a list of 17 middle-of-the-night freight trips past his home since the March 20 meeting with CPR, including many nights with east-west return trips running as late as 4:30 a.m.
Smith asked the mayor and council to appeal to senior officials at CPR headquarters in Calgary to see if the noise issue could be resolved.
"I'm one of those residents," Mayor Trasolini said. "When the train goes by [at] one, two, three o'clock in the morning, it's not just a question of the horn, it's that the whole ground shakes. Even if you wear earplugs, the shaking wakes you up."
"Your request will be dealt with at the next council meeting," Trasolini told Smith.