Edmonton city staff are recommending a one-time funding package for three long-time festivals that are relocating in summer 2018 due to construction at Churchill Square.
The public venue will be impacted by construction projects from September 2017 to April 2019. It has been the location for The Works Art and Design Festival for more than 30 years, the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival for nearly 30 years and Taste of Edmonton for 32 years.
City staff are recommending a funding package of up to $372,500 for all three festivals – up to $110,000 for The Works, up to $90,000 for the Street Performers Festival and up to $172,500 for Taste of Edmonton. The money will be used for incremental operating expenses, additional staff, marketing and communications.
“Relocation off the square is a risk for these organizations and will result in additional operating costs,” reads the report headed to the Community and Public Services Committee.
“For this reason they are seeking funding support for direct incremental operating costs that will be incurred as a result of the relocation including equipment, utilities, facility rental fees, temporary infrastructure and additional staff to plan and deliver these festivals in new locations.”
The Works currently has an interim location of the Legislature grounds for summer 2018 while the Street Performers Festival’s interim location is Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park.
The Taste of Edmonton has not yet revealed its interim location.
Councillors heard Monday that Taste of Edmonton was hoping to use the Federal Building for its 2018 event.
Organizers were told the provincial space is not an appropriate temporary home for the festival next summer due to its food and drink rules.
Events Edmonton GM Paul Lucas told 630 CHED a meeting with legislature staff two years ago did not go well because they believed food and drink “takes away from the dignity” of the grounds.
However, later Monday afternoon, Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason said the province will grant an exemption to allow the festival to operate outside the Federal Building.
The festivals should be returning to Churchill Square in 2019.
The issue will be discussed at Monday’s committee meeting. If it receives support, it will then require council approval.
With files from Emily Mertz, Global News and 630 CHED