Municipalities reluctant to commit cash for Victoria Juno bid

The deadline is looming for Greater Victoria’s bid to host the 2014 Juno Awards

The deadline is looming for Greater Victoria’s bid to host the 2014 Juno Awards, but most regional councils are taking a wait-and-see approach before committing funding.

Greater Victoria’s Juno bid committee must submit it’s bid by April 30. Establishing a $450,000 commitment from the 13 regional municipalities is a key requirement for the province to release $1.5 million to help host Canada’s premier music awards.

The City of Victoria has committed more than $200,000, leaving, as Juno bid committee member Kyara Kahakauwila pointed out, “$1 per capita for the rest of the region.”

Colwood has stepped up to the plate and committed $16,000 in principle, but most other municipalities haven’t offered specific dollar amounts. On Monday Langford council passed a motion to participate “if everyone else participates.”

“We haven’t decided how much,” Langford acting mayor Denise Blackwell told Kahakauwila and fellow bid committee member Chris Coleman, a Victoria city councillor. “We hope to see how much other municipalities are putting forward.”

View Royal and Oak Bay have also given “support in principle,” and Sooke, Esquimalt, Central Saanich and Highlands have given “positive feedback,” said Kahakauwila, the past president of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce and former Metchosin councillor.

Kahakauwila explained that Juno organizers require provincial and municipal support to be confirmed before they will consider a city to host the Junos.

“The reality is we have to … convince the municipalities that it’s a good economic investment,” Coleman said. “But we are conscious that for municipalities, it’s a significant amount of money.

“But we need commitments, or commitments to commit.”

Saanich, with the region’s largest population at 109,000, hasn’t given much in the way of support for what would be a Victoria-centric event. “The only option I can anticipate would be to defer or disapprove,” Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard told the Victoria News earlier this month.

If Victoria is awarded the 2014 Junos – the 2013 event has gone to Regina, Sask. – Kahakauwila said the organizers would stretch it into a seven to 10 day event involving venues from across the region.

Save-on-Foods arena would host the televised Junos ceremony, but Kahakauwila said organizers would look to Langford’s Eagle Ridge arena and West Shore Parks and Recreation in Colwood to host Juno lead-up music and community celebrations.

“The majority of the Junos are in downtown Victoria, but we are still looking at significant events throughout the region,” she said. “In the days leading up, local talent will be highlighted. I know there is plenty of talent here. There is no reason why the Capital Region shouldn’t host the music awards.”

Despite few commitments of cash, Kahakauwila and Coleman said the committee will bid for the 2014 Junos, and that the province will cover the fees and deposit requirements. If Victoria isn’t awarded the Junos, municipal donors aren’t on the hook for any money.

“We’ve been working on this for two years,” Kahakauwila said. “We will submit at bid on April 30.”

For more on the Greater Victoria Juno bid, see capitalregionmusicawards.com.

–with files from Kyle Wells and Roszan Holmen