Festivals pushed off Churchill Square ask city for help with relocation costs

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Festivals pushed off Churchill Square ask city for help with relocation costs

Three Edmonton summer festivals forced to relocate from Churchill Square in 2018 to make way for LRT construction are asking the city for $372,500 to help pay for the moves.

A Taste of Edmonton and The Works Art & Design Festival will likely be moving to the plaza in front of the Alberta legislature for 2018. 

The province announced Monday that it would relax the plaza's zero-tolerance policy barring food, alcohol, live music and busking.

"There is this antiquated policy which I'm having the department review now," said Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason.

"This clearly cannot stand and I've asked the department to fix this."

Events Edmonton general manager Paul Lucas told a city committee Monday that the site is ideal.

"That's what it was built for was for the citizens of Alberta. It's an absolute jewel.

"It's a perfect site for public assembly and for festivals to celebrate and bringing people together."

A Taste of Edmonton is asking for $172,500 from the city to help with the move while The Works is hoping for $110,000.

Lucas said relocation could mean as much as half a million dollars in lost revenue for A Taste of Edmonton.

The Works executive artistic director, Amber Rooke, told the city committee without financial support, there will be a significant impact on the festival and what it can offer.

'We've been relocated from Churchill Square in the past and we know from this history that the cost can be felt for years," she said.

"In 2004, when The Works was on Rice Howard Way, the festival closed the year with a deep deficit."

The Street Performers Festival is looking for $90,000 from the city to move to the area in and around McIntyre Park in Old Strathcona.

The festival will run for six days instead of 10, said artistic director Shelley Switzer.

It'll cost $300,000 more to put on the festival in a different location, she said.

"The budget has $190,000 of additional expenses and $111,000 of anticipated losses to our revenue."

The festival will seek help from other levels of governments as well, she said.

City council will decide on the requests next week.