Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Real Estate Webmasters Not Sponsoring Heritage Days

Following is a cut and paste from a Facebook post from Morgan Carey of Real Estate Webmasters:

Nanaimo Heritage Days - Feel free to share this, if you are connected in Nanaimo, hopefully it will stop all the PM's I am receiving.

First of all - to the past volunteers of Nanaimo Heritage Days (the few but the awesome!) - I want to say thank you for helping us during 1 or both of the 2 Heritage Days that were put on here in our great city of Nanaimo by Real Estate Webmasters (special shout out to all the REW folks who helped, they were by far the largest group of volunteers!)

Second of all - I'd like to shout out Tilray for 2 years in a row stepping up as the ONLY major sponsor other than REW to pay for a portion of the fireworks display.

With that out of the way, I would like to announce that unfortunately due to several issues encountered during the first 2 Heritage Days Festivals and the current state of our city staff and council - REW will not be sponsoring / putting on a Nanaimo Heritage Days this year.

You'll probably want to know why - there are a lot of reasons but here are a few of the main ones:

No sponsors: Other than Tilray (for fireworks only which again we appreciate greatly) not a single other business stepped up to financially support the event in any significant way. (Though we had some very kind small donations from some great friends like the folks at Bob Wall Contracting.)

We were more than happy to "not" have our name on it (and have others be the title sponsor) but there was no interest from the community - but of course those same businesses were happy to make it known they felt it was the "REW Show" - You were wrong, we never wanted it to be about us, it's just there were title sponsorships available and since no-one else was willing to step up at all and put their name on it, OF COURSE we did! We paid for pretty much the entire thing! There is irony here.

Promised support from council / city: This is a big one, Councillor Jerry Hong approached me to "help" save Empire days under the new name. He said he would help us get city support, funding, organize, participate etc - in the first year he came to "some" meetings but honestly did very little. We were going to pull the plug, but then he approached me again - promised again his personal support, told me he would take responsibility for the entertainment, promised to supply all bands from his "battle of the bands" etc - and then he absolutely VANISHED - no responses to communication, no funding from him or the city, no help with the event AT ALL! Once again, we ended up footing the bill for virtually all activities, bands etc So Jerry was nowhere, and the rest of the city? They would not even grant us an extended patio for the event let alone pledge any support. So for anyone looking for support from the City of Nanaimo for anything, I would say don't hold your breath.

Resources: We didn't just spend a ton of our own $ trying to do something great for the city, we also spent a lot of time - most specifically Anton Nikl who worked his butt off! Along with Max and many other REW staff. Much of it was done on paid time (which I paid for) and much of it was more awesomely put in as volunteer time from that same group - if you loved the heritage days, you have folks like Anton and Max to thank for all their hard work (and probably a hundred other REW employees too!)

I won't get into all the negativity that we had to deal with from some of the local vendors (all of whom benefitted significantly from the event and the traffic that it brought downtown) - it's simply not worth it.

But the long and the short of it was this - we tried very hard to save this long standing event for Nanaimo, and we are VERY PROUD of the work our team put in. We are so happy that so many families were able to enjoy 2 amazing sunny weekends (one each year) with great music from great bands (many of which played for free or on the cheap to help out) and even though our experience with The City, Local businesses, the DNBIA and most especially Mr Hong were nothing short of HORRIBLE we are still very glad that we did it, because the smiling faces on the children and the families great time and feelings we had participating are memories we can always be proud of.

Moving forward - many folks are asking me to give them resources, hand over assets, pay legal costs to re-allocate "our" not for profit etc - if you could please stop, that would be great.

REW does not own the right to call an event "Nanaimo Heritage Days" nor would we try to stop you from using that name in celebration of the many great cultures we have in Nanaimo - fill your boots. And if you want to start your own not for profit with "Nanaimo Heritage Days" in it, again - not an issue for me at all.

But please stop contacting us demanding that we hand over websites, or pay legal costs to change our legal entities etc - we already did our part, we're done!

It's not that I don't love Nanaimo, and it's not that I don't want to see happy families downtown (I do!) But I just can't participate (or ask my team to participate) in the absolutely toxic environment that has befallen us due to our ridiculous city council and city management.

I'd be in (and will be back as volunteer and a sponsor) if you will vote out the current council and we get rid of the city manager. If we have amazing people that actually show they care more about our city than themselves and are willing to support culture, city events, local businesses and progress.

And if someone else wants to try to take up the event in the meantime - it's all yours (I wish I could say that you will get help where it is needed)

But I can't (and won't) be a part of trying to wade the the sludge any more. I'm sorry.

I do love Nanaimo, and it makes me sad that it is so dysfunctional that I can't participate any longer.

Your votes count - and once we get rid of council and upper city management, I will be here and hopefully together, we can forge a far greater tomorrow for a city that I KNOW we all believe in!


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