By Angus Argyle 
BELLEVILLE – The head of Belleville’s Chamber of Commerce  had two special announcements to make about this summer’s Waterfront and Ethnic Festival at a presentation at city hall Thursday.
“We are very proud of the fact that the 2015 Belleville Waterfront and Ethnic Festival  has been recognized again, for the second year in a row, as one of the top 100 festivals in Ontario,” chamber chief executive officer Bill Saunders said above the noise of clapping hands.
For his second announcement, Saunders introduced three special guests: Louise St-Pierre, the president and CEO of Cogeco Connexion , Scott Meyers, the senior manager of programming and community relations of Cogeco TV for Belleville and Kingston, and Katherine Chartrand, public-relations director for Cogeco.
“We now have with us, for the second or third year in a row, Cogeco Connexion coming on as a major sponsor for us,” Saunders said as a cheque was presented by the Cogeco team.
“We are very pleased again this year to contribute, and this year the amount is $11,500,” St-Pierre said. “We are pleased to be associated with this event. It fits well with our mission, our vision and the support to the community. It’s very important to us. Congratulations, because I know it’s a lot of work to do.”
Saunders explained that the city wants to keep the festival a “top-notch event.” Sponsors such as Cogeco allow the city to provide free admission for the public while maintaining an award-winning experience.
The city is still waiting to hear back from Celebrate Ontario , a provincial-government program that helps fund events like the Waterfront and Ethnic Festival. It is expected to announce a contribution within the next two or three weeks, Saunders said.
Susan Walsh, events co-ordinator for the chamber, said she is expecting to gather at least $150,000 in donations and revenue to help pay for the event.
As for the performers at this year’s festival, Walsh said that for now they are under wraps. She promised that as of the beginning of April, organizers will start releasing performers’ names about once a week. She plans to have something “fresh and different every day” of the festival, she said.
“Events contribute to the quality of the life in any city,” Walsh added.