Vendor blames inspector for thwarting pizza shop dreams
Dave Kunz said he was thoroughly inspected and cleared to operate during the Stampede earlier this month, but he couldn't operate during the Calgary Folk Music Festival last weekend because a city building inspector found problems with a label on his oven.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who was at the folk festival, said he saw a closure note on Kunz's tent and sent an email to city officials asking for more information.
"What I learned was there were some significant safety concerns that resulted from a physical inspection of the premises, but they are investigating further to determine how it was that they were cleared for Stampede, but not for folk festival, which is the real question that I had," Nenshi said.
"We have to be very careful about what is seen as arbitrary enforcement of the rules, depending on who the inspector was and so on. Of course our primary concern is people's health and safety but we are also concerned with making sure that entrepreneurs can be successful."
Label on oven unreadable
Kunz said a city building inspector told him the certification label on his pizza oven was unreadable so he couldn't operate at the folk festival. Despite getting the oven's manufacturer on the phone to answer questions, the inspector said no, Kunz said.
"How can we come from a huge festival [with] great response, fully certified and then we come to another festival and we have the book thrown at us?"
Kunz's plan was to use money he was expecting to make during the Stampede and folk fest to open a pizza shop, but he is putting his equipment up for sale and moving on.
Calgary folk fest general manager Les Siemieniuk said vendors have had problems in the past.
He recalls one incident about five years ago involving another vendor. "The fire inspector [was] saying: 'No, the cooking thing had to be outside the tent.' And the health inspector [was] saying: 'No, it had to be inside the tent.'"
Siemieniuk says inspections are important, but it might be helpful if the city had a clear, standard specifically for outdoor venues.