Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Festival and Events Policy approved

City Council has approved a new Festival and Events Policy that recognizes they enhance Calgarian’s quality of life and therefore will subsidize city services such as road closures, policing and permits.

Beth Gignac, city arts and culture manager, said this cash injection will improve festivals’ content and allow for more access to citizens who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend events.

“Participation at festivals and events have significant value for citizens and visitors,” said Gignac. “They are a vital ingredient in Calgary’s on-going development as an active and creative community.

In addition to the fee program, The city will bolster events with $900,000 from a two-year stimulus fund in conjunction with the Federation of Business Revitalization Zones, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Sport Tourism Authority, Calgary Sport Council, Calgary Arts Development and Calgary Economic Development. The city has budgeted $1 million this year and $1.5 million next year for the subsidy and stimulus package.

This new policy, which has been in the works since 2007 and was developed in consultation with the community, will also generate processes to ensure more transparency for resources allocation.

“They will add directly to the bottom line of these organizations,” said Gignac. “It is likely that there will now be more artists on stages and other improvements while at a lower cost to those who attend.”

Policing for events with a beer garden will have to pay the associated costs.
There were 305 separate events in 2009.

The key points of the new policy are:
  • Any new festival or event that is approved through the merit review process is subsidized by this new policy based on a fee schedule that outlines expenses to be subsidized including all City service costs, permit fees, license fees, pay duty fees, etc,. All approved festivals and events who were subsidized in 2009 are grandfathered into this new policy and do not need to apply, however, all organizations will be made aware that there may be a merit review in subsequent years.
  • Once the festival or event is approved through the merit review process, all City service costs on the fee schedule will be subsidized 100 per cent. The fee schedule and policy will be available at calgary.ca upon approval by Council.
  • More resources will not be allocated for events; rather the updated process will be more open so community members can easily understand resource allocation.
The Event Stimulus Grant program and Merit Review Process will be announced by June 1, 2010.

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