Brantford City Councilors Exempt WTFest from venue change

February 9th 2015

City councillors approve vote, exempting organizers’ of WTFest to consider different venues for summer concert festival.

Ward One Councillor Rick Weaver proposed the motion after residents within his ward discussed concerns over noise, traffic and parking near the proposed Lion’s Park venue. The festival is scheduled to take place June 13th and 14th. The event is one Weaver hopes to attend himself. “I want to bring my 16-year old niece Brittney, but I need to address my constituents’ concerns.”

WTFest President Jamie Stephens knows his group’s event is ambitious but believes Lion’s Park is still the best venue for the event. Stephens is expecting to have around 10, 000 people attend the two day event. Stephens and his partners Lance and Mark Calbeck are continuing to follow the proper channels to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.

Brantford forces applicants of events to go through serval processes to ensure the event meets all requirements. An applicant must meet all city bylaws and go through the Special Events Advisory Team or SEAT process.

Chairman of SEAT, Brian Hughes describes the SEAT process as “bringing everyone together to best handle event applications, site plans and continual development.” SEAT brings together every service from police to parks services to one table to discuss any concerns that they may have over any event application.

Stephens said his group has “no concerns following the rules,” and his group is doing their best to eliminate concerns over past failed events. Stephens and his group had no role in any of the past festival failures. “We don’t get any money until the show,” said Stephens who also noted that they have already paid every musical act. Stephens said “I’ve never had a show go south, be cancelled or not have somebody show up.”

Stephen’s and his partners Lance and Mark Calbeck looked into other venues prior to deciding on Lion’s Park including the Paris Fairgrounds, the airport and Hardy Road. City councillors are now sending the trio back to the planning stage to find out if there is a better option for the festival to take place.
Despite Councillors exempting the need for more research to be done into potential venues, the majority of Councillors voiced their support of the music festival. Councillor John Sless says he has already purchased eight tickets to the event. With Councillor Larry Kings stating he fully supports the festival if they address traffic and liter concerns.

Councillor Greg Martin who along with Ward five councillor Brian Van Tilborg voted against the motion said “I’m voting against it, no need to do another report. No need to waste staff time. I’m voting against it.” Martin added that he felt the fourth paragraph in the motion should be removed, as it is “causing negative light on ticket sales and the festival.”

Councillor Rick Carpenter described the need to “look at other options and look seriously at all options. I’ll support it, if the fourth clause is dropped. It should cost the taxpayers nothing.”

Mayor Chris Friel closed discussion on the topic by adding he is “supportive of the process, and interested in seeing festivals proceed and go through the proper channels.”

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