Red Deer Gun Show organizer, Harold Drok, is concerned $1 fee from each ticket sale will go to Westerner Park once shows can be restarted there. This new policy replaces parking fees which will be waived for future Westerner Park events. (Black Press file photo)

Red Deer Gun Show organizer, Harold Drok, is concerned $1 fee from each ticket sale will go to Westerner Park once shows can be restarted there. This new policy replaces parking fees which will be waived for future Westerner Park events. (Black Press file photo)

Event organizer concerned about Westerner Park’s new parking fee model

A show organizer is concerned this could impact proceeds

Westerner Park is getting rid of parking fees — but one event organizer is concerned this could come at the expense of some of his group’s future proceeds.

Harold Drok puts on the annual Red Deer Gun Show to benefit the Red Deer Fish and Game Association. This year’s show was cancelled due to the pandemic, but Drok believes next year’s event will go ahead once pandemic restrictions are lifted.

He objects to having to pay Westerner Park a $1 facility fee in future for each ticket sold to his show.

Adding a dollar service fee onto every ticket for events held at Westerner Park is how the exhibition and convention site intends to cover its parking lot maintenance costs — instead of charging a $6 parking fee, which would soon have to go up to $7.

Drok is concerned this change in policy will decrease his group’s proceeds. “If we have 5,000 people come through the door at one of our shows we have to give the Westerner $5,000 off the top of our profit,” said Drok, as $1 of each ticket price would go to the Westerner.

But Westerner Park’s CEO Mike Olesen said the intent wasn’t to have this $1 come out of any group’s proceeds.

If a show was charging $10 for an admission ticket, Olesen said it would be $10 in future — plus an additional a $1 facility service fee to go to the Westerner for a total of $11.

He understands some groups might feel this cost increase could be blamed on them, instead of Westerner Park. But he stressed he’s willing to help market this information to the public so that people understand the reason for the additional fee.

Unless Red Deerians come to Westerner Park events packed seven or eight people to a car, Olesen believes $1 per ticket will still be less expensive for them than paying $6 or $7 for parking. (The World Juniors Hockey Championship in December will be the last Westerner Park event that retains a parking fee).

He said the $1 facility service fee will only be collected from tickets sold, including for hockey games and concerts.

If a wedding reception or ticket-less convention is held there, organizers will not have to pay this facility fee, added Olesen.

Drok isn’t sure about how this will affect future ticket prices to the gun show, noting “We have to be competitive with the market and could price ourselves out of business.”

Olesen responded, “We are willing to work with all of our events clients to find the best model for them.”

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