City committee unanimously supports request for $150k towards fan zone for the 2019 JUNO Awards

A city committee has unanimously supported a $150,000 request from the JUNO Host Committee.

The JUNO Host Committee will use the money to build a fan zone — a temporary outdoor programming space — around Budweiser Gardens next year.

Chris Campbell, the chair of the host committee, told Global News Radio 980 CFPL the idea will “raise the bar” by allowing people who don’t have tickets for inside the facility to be a part of the red carpet event. The idea came from attending JUNO award shows in Calgary and Ottawa.

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“I saw a tiny little corral, and I don’t know if it would be 100 or 200 fans or contest winners,” Campbell said. “I thought to myself, ‘wouldn’t it be spectacular if we provided this opportunity for thousands of people to be here on the Sunday?'”

There was debate about where the $150,000 ask would come from. Half of the newly implemented hotel tax goes to the city’s Tourism Development Infrastructure Fund (TDIF) for capital projects, while the other half goes to Tourism London to support bids and promotional activities.

City staff recommend taking the money from the TDIF, a move committee chair Coun. Josh Morgan said would likely result in the JUNOs paying back the fund.

“I anticipate all of the hotels downtown will be sold out for that event and we may even sell out the city,” he said.

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“That’s just going to put more money into the fund and that’s one of the added benefits of investing in tourism. It’s going to pay ourselves back.”

Coun. Stephen Turner argued the fan zone is not a capital project, and therefore Tourism London should foot the bill with its half of the hotel tax money, but at the meeting Campbell explained that the actual cost of the fan zone would be closer to $400,000 and the $150,000 request would go solely towards the infrastructure portion. The rest of the cost would be covered by other parties including the JUNOs and corporate donors.

Turner also noted that when the city contributed $500,000 towards the bid fee, councillors were told the city wouldn’t get more funding requests related to the 2019 JUNO week.

But speaking with 980 CFPL’s The Craig Needles Show, Campbell said that was before London had even entered its successful bid for the awards show and was in relation to securing the total funding needed for the bid — which cost $1.7-million.

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, Campbell told members that this would be the final request for funding related to the JUNOs.

Full council will have the final say on the matter.

– with files from 980 CFPL’s Jacquelyn LeBel.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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