Moncton changes concert strategy
Councillor Brian Hicks says city paid too much to bring in acts such as Rolling Stones, U2
The city of Moncton wants to change the way it stages concerts at Magnetic Hill.
The city's new events director, Maurice Belliveau, says the current model isn't working.
Since 2005, the city's concert site at Magnetic Hill has staged shows by the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, the Eagles, AC/DC, U2, and Bruce Springsteen, among others.
Belliveau says the mega concert industry is changing and the city must change its strategy.
However, Belliveau won't say what the city needs to do. Contracts between the city and promoters are confidential and Belliveau won't say what promoters are seeking in order to bring an act to Moncton.
"That, at this point, I'm not sure I'm prepared to share because that's how rumours start in this wonderful city," said Belliveau.
Councillor Brian Hicks is worried the promoters want money. Hicks says the city has already paid too much over the years to promoters.
"The city made money off the first ticket. We made money off the last ticket," he said. "We did not lose hundreds of thousands of dollars like we have with the majority of our concerts."
Hicks says it's too bad the contracts between the city and promoters are secret. He would like the public to know how much all of the concerts staged before Springsteen cost taxpayers.
Info commissioner rules on concert secrecy
CBC News sought a copy of all the contracts between the City of Moncton and promoters under the province's Right To Information Act, and a list of any funds paid to the bands, promoters or organizers. However, the city refused to provide the information on the grounds that doing so would be harmful to a third party's business or financial interests.
This level of confidentiality will not be acceptable to the public in the future and this approach is not in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Act.- Anne Bertrand, Access to Information commissioner
The city's refusal was appealed to Anne Bertrand, the province's Access to Information and Privacy commissioner. She ruled in Moncton's favour, noting the city became subject to the Right to Information Act on Sept. 1, 2012.
"As the City was not yet subject to the Act, the possibility of disclosure of information about the negotiated contracts was not contemplated at the time of the negotiations and was not discussed with the promoters before the contracts were signed," stated Bertrand in her ruling.
"The public has a right to know whether these kinds of events are profitable for the City and to have the opportunity to voice an informed opinion as to whether it agrees that these events are worthwhile ventures for the City.""This level of confidentiality will not be acceptable to the public in the future and this approach is not in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Act," said Bertrand. "The Act requires the city, and all public bodies, to be more transparent and accountable to the public in its use and expenditure of public funds.