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Sarnia nixes paid parking for concerts in Canatara Park

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Tara Jeffrey

Organizers of this summer’s inaugural Revelree Music Festival are working with City Hall to find a solution to a parking impasse at Canatara Park.

Organizers had asked the city to close the Animal Farm parking lot and two of three lots at Canatara Beach to create paid parking and provide space for staff and volunteers during the July 22-23 festival.

City council rejected that idea and has asked staff to come up with alternative options.

“The purpose of Canatara Park is to be enjoyed by all of the citizens of the city, with particular emphasis on people who cannot afford to pay for entertainment venues,” said Coun. Mike Stark, noting the wishes of philanthropist Maud Hanna, whose generosity helped create the park.

Ticketed concerts and paid parking, he added, are not what Hanna envisioned for Canatara, which “was to be used for the enjoyment of the citizens of Sarnia, without fees.”

Revelree organizer Scott Palko said any parking fees would go toward local charities partnered on the event. Organizers are encouraging concertgoers to reduce traffic by carpooling and finding alternate transportation, he said.

“We just want to communicate to the public — both people who want to use the park and people who are there for the festival — the best places to park related to what your use of the park is that weekend,” he said.

“It’s a safety issue more than anything.”

The festival, which can accommodate up to 10,000 each night, features Blue Rodeo, Red Wanting Blue, Bedouin Soundclash, Donovan Woods, Big Wreck, and the Cory James Mitchell Band.




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