Cowboys Dance Hall gets approval to move party tent close to condos for Stampede

Partygoers will be dancing in a new location for this year's Calgary Stampede. Cowboys Dance Hall has received permission to move its tent to a new location, closer to apartment buildings.

Tower residents worried partygoers would make area rowdier

Partygoers packed this party tent run by Cowboys Dance Hall at the Calgary Stampede in 2012. The club's tent is always a popular spot, and this year it will be in a new location. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Partygoers will be dancing in a new location for this year's Calgary Stampede.

Cowboys Dance Hall has received permission to move its concert tent to a new location, close to several condo buildings in the city's centre.

And it'll be left up all summer for "family-oriented events, such as movie nights and roller skating," the city says.

The tent used to be behind the club at 421 12th Avenue S.E. but must be moved due to the expansion of the BMO Centre.

The club's owner, Penny Lane Entertainment, asked for the empty lot east of East Victoria Park, which had been occupied by Enoch Sales House until it burned down earlier this year.

The Cowboys' Stampede party tent has been tentatively approved to move to this lot next to several residential towers. (Helen Pike/CBC)

The move will bring the tent closer to the thousands of Guardian condo residents, some of whom worried the tent would make the area "rowdier."

The tent's previous location offered a "sound wall," behind a building with the stage facing away from the residential area, said Peter Oliver, president of the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association. Instead, the stage will be "literally across the street" from multiple condo towers, he said.

"There's now, I think, higher potential for noise disturbance," Oliver said. "There's also less room for the crowd to disperse outside of the tent. The tent walls literally go up to the sidewalk."

The city says it will provide bylaw officers each night the tent is used. Music also must be turned off by midnight, and the tent vacated by 1 a.m. Event organizers also must offer crowd management and security services.

Family events will be run by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) throughout the summer, the city said, though only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Club owner 'disappointed'

Paul Vickers, president of Penny Lane Entertainment, says the decision to limit his hours was disappointing.

"Well, the residents have spoken and I think they were heard loud and clear, because they applied this to my development permit," he said. "I'm disappointed that the hours are cut back, that they went from 2 a.m. to 12 a.m., and they put some pretty tight constraints on me."

Vickers said he tried to address the concerns put forward by area residents.

"They were concerned about three things: the noise, the people and security," Vickers said. 

"I've got a new sound system local, which curbs the noise."

Vickers added that he had agreed to improve security around the venue and to clean up the area after events. Overall, he said he was concerned that the city is not looking to develop an entertainment hub.

"This is going to be, in the future, an entertainment area," he said. "Calgary is a growing city. We've just had a really tough time and we're really hurting here, and any economic impact that we can have in a positive way on our city, I think we need to explore those options, and one of them is music festivals."

Vickers said the city should consider the future tourism potential of music festivals such as South by Southwest, which bring in tourism dollars. He said he knows people who've moved to this community "expressly to be close to the entertainment area."

The city said it tried to do its best to help balance the needs of businesses and residents. More information will be posted on the city's site by Thursday.

Members of the public can appeal the city's decision starting May 31 until June 20.

The Calgary Stampede runs July 5-14.

With files from Colleen Underwood, Pam Fieber


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