Memorial Cup street closures cause pedestrian problems
Published Saturday, May 18, 2019 6:38PM ADT
The Memorial Cup has drawn thousands of hockey fans to Halifax, but the start of the event has hit a few road bumps.
As part of the pre-game festivities, the ‘Memorial Cup Street Fest’ series of concerts is being held in downtown Halifax.
At Friday night’s outdoor concert featuring Dartmouth artist Matt Mays, some fans say the street closure caused problems for pedestrians.
The concert brought thousands of people to downtown Halifax, but once they were there, some fans say they were stuck.
“We came out about two hours before the game, and you couldn’t even move,” says Jennifer Castel, who attended Friday night’s concert. “People were standing here to watch the concert, they wouldn’t move forward. It was just a standstill.”
The majority of Argyle St. is blocked off all week for an outdoor concert venue, leaving a narrow sidewalk for everyone else, which has created some problems with pedestrian traffic.
But the organizers say overall, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The city was buzzing, this place was rocking, it was great,” says Memorial Cup event manager Tanya Colburne. “As with the first day of any event there are always a few hiccups here and there, but we’re continually working with our partners and stakeholder groups to ensure it’s the best fan experience possible.”
Some fans took to Twitter to share their frustrations from the concert.
The area is cordoned off to serve as a beer garden, which means the audience inside the fences needs to be over 19-years-old, something that has mixed review for people who travelled for the festivities.
“It kind of bums us out, we’d like to see a bit of the concert, but oh well,” says 15-year-old Noah Allison.
“I see it on both ends, if I’m 18 it sucks, but if I’m 19, I get it,” says Devante Burey.
“It would be nice if he could go in and stand there like everybody else, have a lookaround and enjoy himself,” says Pat Bonner.
“I think there’s more than enough stuff here for him to do, so I think we’ll be alright,” says Triston Manson, who attended the street fest with his young son Landon.
The fire code allows 1000 people to be let inside the beer garden, where fans say the atmosphere has been great. But outside the barriers, some people had a different experience.
“I figured somebody would get trampled and there was going to be people arguing and fighting, that was already happening,” says Jennifer Castel. “It’s a good event, but those things there should be supervised.”
Something officials say is going to happen, with some changes for the shows going forward.
“We’ll be obviously implementing other measures to ensure that traffic keeps flowing, and everyone has the freedom that they need and the safety is the utmost priority for all of us,” explains Tanya Colburne.
Friday night was the first of ten nights of free concerts downtown.
Organizers say they will continue to listen to the fan feedback and they are working to find other ways to clear out that area, including adding a telecast on the other side of the Nova Centre.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.