Calgary

Cowboys Stampede festival tent takes shape at new site ahead of final approval

The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is defending its decision to pave a surface parking lot in Victoria Park just before the Cowboys Dance Hall gets the final go-ahead to pitch its Stampede party tent at the site.

Thursday is last day to appeal party tent's relocation to lot near condo towers

Crews began erecting the Cowboys Stampede tent at a lot on 12th Avenue S.E. near Macleod Trail on Wednesday. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

STORY UPDATE: On June 28, Cowboys won its appeal at the development appeal board. Under revised rules, live music must stop at midnight, but the DJ and liquor sales can continue until 2 a.m. Customers must leave by 3 a.m.


The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is defending its decision to pave a surface parking lot in Victoria Park just before Cowboys Dance Hall gets the final go-ahead to pitch its Stampede party tent at the site.

The city has tentatively agreed to let Cowboys set up its Music Festival Tent on the vacant lot on 12th Avenue S.E. at Macleod Trail, where the Enoch Sales House was destroyed by fire earlier this year.

Members of the public can appeal the city's decision until June 20, but crews began erecting the temporary structure on Wednesday.

In previous years, the tent was set up behind the club at 421 12th Ave. S.E., but it can't go there this year because of the expansion of the BMO Centre.

The move westward would bring the tent closer to thousands of condo residents, some of whom worried the tent would make the 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)

Clare LePan with CMLC says the tent was a factor in the paving decision, but she says there are no other short-term development plans for the site, so it made sense to pave it in any case.

"We made the decision to pave that site along with a couple of others in East Village this summer just so that it improves the parking condition," she said.

"It also improves the appearance and accessibility of those spaces. If you're coming in with a stroller or a wheelchair or mobility issues, that helps."

LePan says a paving crew that was already working in the East Village completed the job last week.

She estimates the cost for paving both sites was between $100,000 and $150,000.

To allay concerns of nearby residents, the city says it will provide bylaw officers each night the tent is used.

Music must be turned off by midnight, and the tent vacated by 1 a.m. Event organizers also must offer crowd management and security services.

Cowboys published a 15-point community commitment plan on its website. The plan includes promises to strictly abide by all bylaws and permit restrictions, provide a neighbourhood blockwatch throughout the Stampede and keep the area clean so it's not an eyesore or nuisance.

Following the Stampede, family events will be run on the site by CMLC for the rest of summer, the city said, though only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

LePan says Cowboys will have to apply again next year if it wants to use the 12th Avenue site again.

"It was important for us to sort of understand their delivery of the event and it being managed accordingly to their plan and to our expectation and having it go through a good year before we were contemplating anything beyond that," she said.

The Calgary Stampede runs July 5-14.

With files from Scott Dippel

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