Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Great effort and good luck on the "no alcohol"...

This Festival is a great boost to local business and a great kick off to the summer. Yes there are some very legitimate complaints from neighbourhood residents and it’s nice to see most of them being addressed and I applaud Kim Green and her Committee for taking the first steps in this important process. But let’s not forget that this is a Festival and the associated concerts are always going to have noise and associated partying go on in conjunction with them. Personally I'm a non drinker so whether or not there is alcohol on site really makes no difference to me but I think it will have big impact on the crowds and there is a good likelihood that the same people who were out of control this year will find a way to get out of control again.
New location, no alcohol, considered for Festival of Lights
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
CBC News
The organizers of Charlottetown's Canada Day celebration, the Festival of Lights, are considering major changes for 2009.Tourism Charlottetown CEO Kim Green is considering making next year's Festival of Lights dry. (CBC)
The annual festival is currently held at Confederation Landing on the waterfront adjacent to what is largely a residential district. This year, rowdy behaviour, including 12 reported assaults and 75 liquor-related charges, led to a lot of complaints from local residents.
"The number one thing on our agenda is to find an alternate location," said Tourism Charlottetown CEO Kim Green.
The top contender for a new venue is an abandoned oil tank farm on the waterfront at the foot of the Hillsborough Bridge. The idea was first made public a year ago.
"We have been in discussions with Imperial Oil for some time, along with our counterparts, CADC, and we're looking at hopefully using that land for all of the major events in the city," said Green.
While somewhat separated from residential areas, the property does have potential problems. The soil is likely contaminated, requiring an expensive clean up, and it is right next to a Maritime Electric generating station, a potential hazard for concert goers.
Green is also proposing that revenue from the festival be diverted to helping the city pay for more security on surrounding city streets, and for staff to clean up in the early morning hours after concerts.
"We certainly realize that there are security and policing issues outside of the site and we're empathetic to the city residents," said Green.
"We are willing to increase our ticket prices, our service charges, and give incremental funding so that we can put additional security on the streets of Charlottetown."
What could be the biggest change is a proposal to stop serving alcohol on the festival site. A series of meetings with the city, local businesses and residents will take place this week, and notices are being circulated among downtown residents to encourage participation.
"I think it's a very important cause," said resident Mary McDonald.
"We want to make sure that everybody who lives in this community feels supported and our needs are met and heard."
The meetings will explore not only the challenges of staging the Festival of Lights, but how to address those challenges without cutting into the revenues the festival raises as the unofficial launch of the high tourism season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the support Tim. Please note that CBC inaccurately reported that FOL was proposing to go alcohol free. Tourism Charlottetown actually proposed to go dry on Canada Day.
However, City Hall passed a resolution on Tuesday night to take back Canada Day from Tourism Charlottetown so the City will be managing the Canada Day celebrations into the future.