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Battle of Beaverdams Park eyed for benefit concert this summer

Local resident Anthony Venneri wants to put on a benefit concert at the park on Aug. 24 but council is worried about the costs and viability; 'We can’t just jump on this'
The bandshell at Battle of Beaverdams Park.

Local resident Anthony Venneri wants to put on a big musical benefit at Battle of Beaverdams Park on August 24, but Thorold City Council has some questions about the viability of the project.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Venneri gave a presentation on his proposal.

“I believe we could use some more events in the city,” he told councillors. “I think that this day would bring out the community to a great event in the park. We can make it an annual event if all goes well.”

Venneri is proposing an exotic car show in the morning and early afternoon, followed by a ticketed event in the evening where three bands will take the stage: two local bands and one headliner that he’s currently in negotiations with.

He hopes to charge approximately $20 per ticket, and the goal of the benefit is to raise funds for the Niagara Peninsula Foundation for Children. The non-profit is the beneficiary of many different organizations in the Region such as Wellspring Niagara, Autism Ontario and Community Crew.

“You can see that there’s a lot of places in Thorold where the money ends up,” Venneri said.

While councillors voiced their support for the event, there are some questions about the financial picture of the event.

Venneri is asking the City to provide fencing, porta potties, picnic tables, as well as $5,000 dollars.

“There’s quite a bit of items that are asked for,” said Councillor Henry D’Angela. “What’s the exact cost? From a council perspective, we can’t just jump on this and do this. We have to be reasonable and I think we need to direct staff to come back with a report.”

But because Venneri says he is already in negotiations with a headliner, he can’t afford to wait on a staff report, which won’t be ready until May 28.

“I really don’t have a lot of time,” he said. “The show needs to go on somewhere. I didn’t know the whole procedure as far City Hall is concerned but it’s really time sensitive because I need to either take it or leave it when a proposal comes back, which I’m expecting in a few days. So I need to know if I have a venue.”

When asked for her input, Director of Finance Mario Mauro said that she thinks the event warrants a staff report first.

“We need to make sure we do things properly,” agreed Councillor Anthony Longo. “There are a lot of liability issues here with insurance and I’d really feel a lot more comfortable with staff coming back with a wholesome report itemizing everything.”

Councillor Jim Handley asked Mauro why City Hall hadn’t started work on the project yet.

“Staff has been criticized in the past when we run with these things without council approval,” Mauro answered.

Director of Community Services Geoff Holman said he’ll do his best to work with Venneri and deliver an update on the project at the next council meeting on May 7.

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Bernard Lansbergen

About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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