The Monkland street festivals have been cancelled
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 9:47AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 23, 2017 5:37PM EST
The Monkland street festival have been cancelled this summer.
Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace Mayor Russell Copeman announced the news Wednesday night at a public consultation on the fate of the event.
The Flavours of Monkland and Grand Prix festivals were scaled back last year due to complaints from residents about a lack of parking, litter and security problems.
Danny Roseman was the president of the Monkland Merchants Association, and is also the head of Monkland Village Productions, the production company that put on the festival.
That connection irked many merchants who did not feel their interests were being met.
Roseman said the festivals have turned out not to be worth the trouble, and about two weeks ago he told a group of 40 business owners he would not hold the festivals this summer.
Roseman told CTV the eight months of work for a nominal profit – what he described as working for minimum wage – is too costly or the company and also difficult to manage with all the opposition they get from some NDG residents.
Roseman said it was a small group of vocal opposition.
However Copeman said hundreds of people complained about how the street festivals quickly expanded from two-and-a-half days to a four-day event, with live music on stage next to apartment buildings until late at night.
The festivals had taken place on Monkland Ave. for three summers and cost about $140,000 each to put on.
Money came from sponsors, said Roseman, as well as from some local merchants.
Merchants kicked in money on a sliding scale based on how much they stood to benefit from the festival; bars and restaurants paid more than a furniture store, for example, he said.
While some merchants say they were in favour of the festival as it was, others said it actually hurt their businesses, and would like to see a different model that focused on local stores and businesses.
The borough pulled its $5,000 worth of funding because the city can’t provide borough funding to a for-profit organization like Monkland Village Productions.
"I did signal to them myself, as mayor, that I was uncomfortable with the model where we give a subsidy to a not for profit organisation which turns around and then subcontracts the organization of the event to a for profit organization essentially composed of the same people.
The money would have been three per cent of the festival’s operating budget and did not make or break the event, said Roseman.
Monkland Village Productions is also hired for other festivals and events, and Roseman said they would instead focus on those.
The new NDG Business Association will consider alternatives to the street festival on Monkland.
The association plans to meet and discuss ways to hold some kind of festival that will suit the merchants -- in 2018.