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Lights out for annual festival of lights in Calgary

Celebrations at the kickoff of the annual Lions Festival of Lights, now in its 30th year, at the Confederation Park in Calgary on Saturday, November 26, 2016.

Mike Drew / Mail

It illuminates the long-lasting light festival, unless society can get along with the city.

President Otto Silzer from the Lions Festival of Lights Society sent a letter to Area Coun. Sean Chu and Mayor Naheed Nenshi on Friday say after 32 years of seasonal lighting at Confederation Park, they close the store.

"I think it would be a devastation for Calgary because many people like the light screen and it's free. No matter what financial status you have, you can come out there and you can enjoy those lights," Silzer said on Saturday.

"The whole problem is access."

He said according to a new agreement with the Confederation Park Golf Course that they would have no choice but to set up the light screen after November 7 because of late-season golfers and demolish on March 7 when the course reopens.

Silzer said both deadlines are unreasonable.

With uncertain winter weather and the need to accommodate volunteer plans, he said they would not have enough time to produce the light spectrum.

And the early deadline for unpacking the lights can cause problems because they cannot remove screens that are frozen in the ground.

The long-standing conflict with the city staff would cease to be a partnership over three decades.

"1987, just before the Olympics, the City Council approved this festival of light on a handshake. We have been operating on that special handshake since," said Silzer, who added that hundreds of volunteers and Calgary families would be disappointed with their permanent cancellation.

Coun. Sean Chu said he was shocked when he received the letter.

"My reaction was" what the hedge is going on? "But after that I thought there are always two sides to a story," he said.

After coming out to the city administration, the city council said the city had requested a map of the power lines and was concerned about safety.

Chu said the city was also surprised by the decision of society.

"I think they pulled the trigger a little too early. When I talked to the city I specifically asked them if it would be interrupted and they said no," he said.

"Everything can always work out. As you know, the city's wheels go slow and I've talked up many times and say things need to go faster. But in terms of safety, the city should make a short cut? Personally, I don't think so."

Silzer met the city just before the weekend and will meet them again next Friday. He said it was an overview that the maps had not been left yet and will give them to the city when they meet next.

While both organizations want to agree to keep the festival going, Silzer said that they will not cope with their requirements.

"Something or something they want us to solve the problem," he says, but "if they don't change, it's still a no. It doesn't matter what (they) say, it's a no-go. "

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