Fort St. John Air Show asks for funding from City Council

Hamre is asking for $20,000 from the city to help offset costs associated with securing planes and fuel, having first responders on scene and hotel booking to name a few.

“In 2017, we’re hoping that the actual airport will have their own Fire Department which will make it a lot easier on all of us,” Hamre says to council.

Hamre goes on to say the Fort St. John International Air Show is held in high regard within the air show community, which she attributes to the overwhelming support of the those working the show; illustrated through this anecdotal story of a pilot running into a first responder.

We were sitting in the plane and a fellow came up, and he was talking to us, and that night he was at the same restaurant we were in. There we’re six of us and his picked up our food bill,” the story is told.

Prior to 2013, the City of Fort St. John was the primary sponsor of the Air Show, but when they decided to reduce funding from $60,000 to $20,000, Hamre says her budget had to be spread a little thin.

“An air show in an extremely difficult event to put on and make money. We are blessed to have money in our account; we have approximately $54,000 in our account right now,” says Hamre. “It’s going to cost me about $134,000 to put on a one-day show. So we raised the rest of that through our sponsorships that we send out to our community, and our community has been exceptionally giving to us as an air show.”

City Manager, Diane Hunter explains the rational when determining how much the city is going to spend on such events.

“When our adjustments were made to the budget request from council, it was also based in part by need,” Hunter explains to Hamre. “We’ve always asked any group to present a budget and whether they’re carrying a surplus or otherwise; it is public funds that you are expending. So not only is it based on the pay back to the community and the value of the event, but it’s also based on need, and then you adjust your contribution accordingly.”

Hamre says part of the air show’s mandate is to give as much money as they can back to the community, which among other things, includes free tickets for student grade 1 – 6.

“Our air show prices are one of the lowest in Canada,” Hamre responds to Hunter. “So we try to keep it down so that it can be a family affair; so that everyone can come [and] you don’t’ need sit outside the gate and watch because you can’t afford it… [The money allocated] is given back, I feel tenfold to the community because we are giving so much back in.”

When 2017 rolls around and the region is celebrating both the 75th Anniversary of the Alaska Highway and 25th Anniversary of the Fort St. John Air Show, Hamre says she would like to have the city become the official partner of the show.

“We are looking forward again like this year, hopefully getting the $20,000 from you, and then in 2017, maybe partnering because of the big event coming up for our area.“

There is no set date for the one-day air show at this point, but Hamre says she anticipates it to be mid-December, and will have a better idea once she gets together with city staff and publishes an admin report to be submitted to council.

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