A fan zone will go up around Budweiser Gardens this spring, after city politicians voted to give the JUNO host committee $150,000 for temporary infrastructure that officials have said will “raise the bar” of the awards show in March.
Full council voted 10-5 in favour of using the money from the Tourism Development Infrastructure Fund, which has been getting half of the city’s newly implemented hotel tax.
“If we do not support this funding, it’s essentially going to kill the JUNOS,” said Ward 13 Coun. Arielle Kayabaga.
The statement sparked some procedure-related tensions. Ward 9 Coun. Anna Hopkins asked for clarification about the impact of not giving the funding, and Mayor Ed Holder allowed Kayabaga to respond, drawing criticism from Ward 6 Coun. Phil Squire.
“Coun. Hopkins said she wanted to ask a question of staff, and respectfully that’s what should have happened,” he said. “All of a sudden, we have another councillor jumping up and wanting to answer the question, and you allowed it, Mr. Mayor.”
Kayabaga responded that she didn’t “appreciate being cut” while speaking, and Squire raised another point of order.
“When someone raises a point of order at council, the point of order is dealt with,” Squire said. “It’s not interrupting someone rudely.”
Squire and councillors Maureen Cassidy, Anna Hopkins, Elizabeth Peloza and Stephen Turner opposed the request.
There was previously some debate about where the money for the fan zone would come from. The zone will allow thousands of people who can’t afford a ticket to the show itself to participate in red carpet festivities.
Turner has argued Tourism London should foot the $150,000 bill because it has been receiving the other half of London’s hotel tax for bids and promotional activities, while Coun. Josh Morgan has said the massive event would likely repay the entire investment back through further hotel taxes.
London has already contributed $500,000 towards Tourism London’s successful $1.7-million bid for the 2019 JUNOS.
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