I don’t get it. What is it with the Indy? Why do we have one? Why are we paying for it? Why would the feds add $800,000 tax dollars to an event that has already sucked up $9 million of our civic tax dollars?
Why on Earth would the feds want to help shore up what is clearly a bad idea? The Indy is losing money because it has found neither the sponsorship nor the attendees it needs. It’s not going to manage to do any better this year either. The organizers have already admitted it is not going to break even. There’s a huge surprise. Remember, these are the same people who gave us the more than underwhelming Capital Ex.
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Contrast this situation to two festivals that also asked the feds for money. There’s no problem finding people to attend the Folk Festival and the same is true for the Fringe. A little extra funding would have helped both these Edmonton jewels go from strength to strength. Just imagine what those two festivals could do if they had the $9 million that was wasted on the Indy.
Getting money from the city and the feds is all about lobbying and being connected. Given the amount of money they have managed to get, apparently the boys and girls at Northlands are much better connected and quite adept at muscling others out of the way so they can gorge themselves at the public teat.
Just how bad does an idea have to be in this city before we decide that throwing good money after bad just doesn’t make any sense? Who thought it was a good idea to put public money into the Indy in the fist place? Was public funding for the Indy ever mentioned during the last civic election? Did your city councillors ever ask you if you thought it was a good idea?
We have a civic election coming up in October. As far as I can tell, all the incumbents will be asking for your vote once more. You will hear all kinds of smooth and soothing talk about what kind of city they are committed in helping create. Vision comes cheap. Subsidizing money-losing sporting events does not. So you might just want to ask them if they agreed to funding the Indy and if they are willing to keep doing so.
Terence Harding is a corporate communicator. He’s a keen observer of all things Edmonton; firstname.lastname@example.org.