Open Streets festival will be different, vows organizer

Waterloo city council has approved $30,000 to fund the Uptown Waterloo Open Streets festival through to 2015, and organizers vow the event will be different than past years.
Women do yoga in the middle of King Street in UpTown Waterloo during the 2012 Open Streets festival. The festival has been criticized by some local stores who say shutting down streets in the city core is bad for business. (Facebook)

The organizers of the Uptown Waterloo Open Streets festival say they're happy that funding for the summer event has been extended through to 2015, and vow to make it different this year.

The festival happens four times a year, but since its launch in 2011 Open Streets has had its fair share of growing pains, Andrew Dodds, a director with the Open Streets festival, told Craig Norris Wednesday on The Morning Edition.

The event has been criticized for hurting local business because it shut down traffic to several blocks in the core of Uptown Waterloo.

"We are growing, learning and adapting," said Dodds. "Definitely trying to listen to business owners and community groups on how we can do this better and make this an asset to the community."

His comments come two days after Waterloo city council on Monday approved $30,000 in funding for the festival for the next two years.

Dodds says this summer:

  • There will be four events, one a month in June, July, August and September (exact dates to be determined)
  • Open Streets will be held on Sundays between 1-4:30 p.m.
  • The footprint of the event will be smaller. It will be held on King Street in Uptown Waterloo from Bridgeport down to William. Drivers will be able to use other North-South routes (Weber, Westmount) but the shorter route will allow for more direct access to Regina and Caroline and to city parking lots.