Keep Kimberley’s float afloat

Aging float needs a complete rebuild; committee says it can be done for $20,000

The Kimberley float at the Julyfest parade this past summer.

The Kimberley float at the Julyfest parade this past summer.

Those lining parade routes this year got a little something extra as the Kimberley float went by — clouds of blue smoke spewing from the aging (1983) vehicle which powers it.

Council received a visit from Jori Adank of the Float Committee this week and his message was short. The current float is an embarrassment for the City, to the point where if a new float can’t be built, it would be better to have no float at all.

However, Adank came with ideas for a new float, which he believes could be built from the ground up with volunteer labour over two years for a cost of about $20,000.

“In the first year we would get an electric golf cart to be the power train and an aluminum frame. The second year, you build the float,” Adank told Council.

A small amount would have to be set aside as well for an upgrade every three years. Large parades such as the Calgary Stampede require floats to be overhauled every three years for a different look.

Adank noted that every year the City budget contains $40,000 to $60,000 for  a new float, but every year this “low priority” item gets bumped.

“We propose $20,000 with a high priority to get this project started,” he said. “Allocate $10 from every business license for two years and we will have enough funds to build a new float. After all, we are here to promote the businesses of Kimberley.”

Adank says Kimberley’s float stands out as one of the few self-propelled floats in most parades, as more and more floats are towed, although he said Kimberley’s float probably could have used a tow a couple of times this year.

It is also one of the few communities that continues to send floats out of town.

He said it was important to continue to send the float to key tourism markets such as Washington, Idaho, Montana and especially Alberta and Saskatchewan. He said the Saskatchewan market in particular was important. The committee had wanted to send the float to the Grey Cup in Regina this year, but just didn’t have the funds.

Mayor Ron McRae says the float committee, in particular Adank and Stan Salikin, are to be congratulated for their efforts over the years.

“You and Stan have made a really strong case that we need to continue to support the float.”

The Mayor also noted that the committee had approached Tourism Kimberley for a potential partnership and he appreciated that.

“We appreciate your efforts,” Coun. Darryl Oakley said. “I am 100 per cent in support of this being a complete priority. With the new branding, now is the time.”

Coun. Jack Ratcliffe concurred and moved that the item be referred to the upcoming 2014 budget deliberations.