The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Council approves subsidy review for growing number of city-subsidized events and festivals

Mayor NenshiCity Council approved a recommendation to review the budget of the Festival and Event Policy, at the Sept. 16 city council meeting.

Each city-licensed festival or event must pay additional costs such as security. This can be a burden to event organizers and put a damper on the city's cultural life. The Festival and Event Subsidy Program provides up to 100 per cent funding of city services used.

"When we go forward we want to look at how we can enhance that funding because there certainly is a need and a desire to increase that funding," Ald. Andre Chabot said during an interview outside the council chamber.

"I recognize that festivals bring a tremendous vitality to the city."

– Alderman Druh Farrell.

City documents provided to aldermen showed the number of events being subsidized by the Festival and Event Subsidy program has almost tripled while the budget to support the program has remained at $1.2 million per year.

There is already a projected funding deficit for 2013 of approximately $200,000 which was a concern for Ald. Druh Farrell.

"I'm a huge advocate for them but I am concerned that they went over budget by a large percentage," Farrell said after the meeting.

Alderman Andre Chabot outside the City Council chambers. Photo by Evan ManconiAlderman Andre Chabot outside the City Council chambers.

Photo by Evan Manconi
The purpose of the Festival and Event Policy is to promote the growth and development of events throughout the city. Through this policy the City of Calgary promotes a range of festival and events, encourages the development of diverse cultures, increases volunteer opportunities and generates tourism revenue.

"I recognize that festivals bring a tremendous vitality to the city," Farrell said.

Although, she added that she'd like to see more integration with the community so that the festivals and events can continue to be good neighbours.

One concern regarding the revision of the policy budget was that the festivals and events around the city could be problematic for residents living near these venues. Farrell said she's concerned some of the festivals have been growing louder and unruly.

Chabot shared Ald. Farrell's concerns about the increasing volume at the festivals. "It certainly does lead to quality of life issues for people that live in this community," he said.

Ald. Chabot added that festivals and events could be an essential piece to the economic development of the city as one of many factors that attracts new investment to Calgary.

Council will review the budget for the Festival and Event Policy as well as a possible review of the existing concert bylaw with regards to noise pollution.

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