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How does smoke risk affect summertime event planning

As the threat of wildfire continues to loom over Grande Prairie officials and event planners, Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton raised a unique question during council’s April 8th meeting.

During the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie’s delegation, asking the city for support from council’s Large-Scale Tourism grant pool, Mayor Clayton raised the question of how smoke might affect outdoor events this summer.

As stated in the grant’s guidelines, an eligible event must proceed “regardless of weather conditions,” or “rain or shine” with a contingency plan; however, smoke is not directly mentioned.

Mayor Clayton says event planners must be aware that due to the dry conditions over the winter in the area, smoke could become a real factor to consider for events in Grande Prairie.

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“I think that obviously with the dry winter we’ve had we can expect it will be a dry summer and there is fire risk with that,” she says. “People who are planning outdoor events need to be cognisant that may be something that impacts their event.”

Despite her concerns, Mayor Clayton says it is important for her council to proceed with event funding as normal, and remain optimistic that events will continue throughout the summer.

“I think that council is very proactive in regards to taking opportunities to enhance tourism and bring people to our community,” she says. “We want people to embrace the Grande Prairie Region and we want events to be successful we’ll plan based on the fact that these events will continue to happen and we are always optimistic that the events get great weather as they have in the past, and we will plan based on the weather being great.”

As a result, council opted to allocate $50,000 each for the Grande Prairie Airshow and Grande Con 2024 during Monday’s meeting.

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