May 19, 2014 7:42 pm

Saskatoon jazz festival organizers say policing bill too costly

Watch the video above: Jazz Fest policing cost

SASKATOON – The Saskatoon jazz festival kicks off next month, but organizers say they’re now being forced to spend over $35,000 on security – a sum they can’t afford.

“We’re not in business to make money. We make money to be in business. So we’ll make, at the best of times, a half of one per cent profit,” explained Bob Eaton, the festival’s board chair.

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On top of security personnel costs, organizers are being told they’ll have to shell out cash to hire Saskatoon police.

“My concern here is public safety. And the last thing we want is an incident to happen when we don’t have police on site,” explained Police Chief Clive Weighill.

The price tag for policing the jazz festival is $8,232.

“This policing policy was only to apply to for-profit events. We’re not a for-profit event, and we in fact have a charitable status,” explained Eaton.

“They are a charitable, but they’re still making money off of it,” explained Weighill.

“And my argument is, if somebody is making money off an event, no matter where the money goes, I don’t think the public taxpayer should have to pay to police that event.”

On top of policing, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) already has a mandate that the festival spend about $27,500 on security personnel.

“I’d really like to see some coordination between the city police and the SLGA,” said Eaton, explaining this could lead to reduced costs.

“There’s a certain budget amount they have for public and private policing and we’ll see if we can work something out for them,” said Weighill.

The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival runs from June 20 to 29.

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