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Production companies face new fees in township

by Chris Daponte

BRUCEDALE - Councillor David Wolk has suggested production companies should be paying more to film commercials, TV shows, movies and documentaries in Guelph-Eramosa Township.

On Oct. 3 Wolk asked why a new filming permit application fee, included as part of a new township policy, is not higher than $500.

Clerk Meaghen Reid, who outlined the new filming policy, said the fee is in line with what other municipalities are charging. She added there are annually about two or three projects on properties and streets in Guelph-Eramosa.

Councillor Doug Breen said there are far more filmed each year in the Rockwood Conservation Area.

Mayor Chris White agreed a large majority of local filming projects take place within the conservation area, over which the township has no jurisdiction.

White said the GRCA is paid well for those projects and, using the 2009 filming of Disney’s Camp Rock 2 (starring the Jonas brothers) as an example, he added most of them tend to stay exclusively within the park for the majority of, if not all, the filming.

GRCA spokesman Dave Schultz said several of the authority’s parks have been used for film and TV productions, but none more than Rockwood.

“It’s fairly popular with location scouts,” Schultz said, adding the site is listed on the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s location database.

The Rockwood park averages about four or five filming projects per year and superintendent Brad Dixon negotiates the fee for each project, depending on the time of year, length of project and other factors, Schultz explained.

The GRCA received $125,000 for hosting the filming of Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (released in 2005), but that was because the project took place over several weeks, Schultz said.

He added the GRCA annually budgets about $12,000 to $15,000 per year in revenue from production company fees.

“It’s not a huge business for us, but it is additional revenue we can invest back into the parks,” Schultz said.

Reid said in her report the township’s new filming policy was developed because of the number of requests from production companies.

This year there have been three local projects: a Covert Affairs episode, a Dodge commercial and a reality TV show at a home in Rockwood.

The new $500 fee will cover costs for “staff time to review information and applications, consult and provide inspections of filming locations,” Reid told council. The new policy also requires a security deposit from production companies ($3,000 for one to three days of filming plus an additional $1,000 per day thereafter).

Reid told the Advertiser the new security deposit is something township officials feel is important to have in place, although she noted most production companies are generally very accommodating.

“They’ve been pretty agreeable to what we’ve asked them to do,” Reid said.

In addition to the fee and security deposit, the new filming policy also requires companies provide:

- detailed information about the project;

- proof of insurance;

- notification to affected property owners;

-  a traffic and parking plan;

- police and medical assistance; and

- compliance with noise, lighting, refuse, clean-up, conduct and other community standards.

Council unanimously approved the new policy.

 

 

October 14, 2011

 
 

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