The Jesse Roper Band performed during the annual Campbell River Mirror Jazz and Blues Festival at Spirit Square last summer.

City puts up for Spirit Square

The city has an eye toward a bigger, better year for Spirit Square and has put up the money to make that happen.

During financial planning sessions last week, council approved a $12,000 increase to the Spirit Square operating budget. That brings next year’s total budget to $73,311.

Jim Creighton, Spirit Square manager, asked for the budget increase to accommodate three big events in 2017 – the BC Elders Gathering, Tribal Journeys and the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) convention – as well as events celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday next year.

Mayor Andy Adams said the funding will also help enhance regular programming such as the Tuesday lunchtime concerts and the Thursday evening summer concert series.

“The job Mr. Creighton has done with programming in Spirit Square and downtown activities has been fantastic and I see this as a nominal way of supporting the work he’s done,” Adams said.

Coun. Colleen Evans said when Creighton submitted the budget request in October that the increase is reasonable in light of all the people that 2017’s big, one-time events stand to attract.

“We heard upwards of 15 to 20,000 people could be coming into our community so this budget would provide an opportunity to accommodate that,” Evans said.

In 2016, the Spirit Square budget was $61,600. Programming last year included Tuesday noon hour concerts from June through August, to the tune of $3,705. There was also the Thursday night River Concert Series in July and August – a $14,655 initiative – as well as the $8,095 Campbell River Mirror Jazz and Blues Weekend held over three nights in July (picture, right).

Spirit Square also played host to Campbell River Musical Theatre, Aboriginal Day, Canada Day celebrations, ArtsFest, the Volunteer Fair and PumpkinFest.

“Going forward, it’s a great investment and it’s an important opportunity to show our commitment to revitalizing the downtown core,” Evans said.