News / Edmonton

Downtown Edmonton festivals facing LRT Valley Line construction woes

Festivals calling Churchill Square home might have to consider a new location or face reduced space as the city starts talks on LRT construction.

The popular downtown square will be part of the Valley Line LRT construction, with parts of the square to be blocked off starting in summer of 2016, according to city officials.

“The best information we have is approximately a third of the square would be impacted so the festivals have a couple of options and we’re trying to work hand and glove with them,” said Rob Smyth, branch manager of community and recreation facilities.

Details are limited at this time, as a construction company has yet to be chosen for the LRT project, but city officials have warned all of the major festivals that use the downtown square.

Terry Harris, co-chair of the Edmonton Pride Festival Society, says the festival will have to “make adjustments” by further discussing options like a relocation or new parade route with community members moving forward.

“The work that will be happening downtown is definitely going to cause a shift,” he said.

Organizers with Taste of Edmonton agree that they, too, will need to get more details to avoid relocation.

“It is a possibility but at this point, it’s too early to say if we would,” said general manager Paul Lucas.

The construction impact would be over an 18-month span, and would only be over one summer, said Smyth.

“We’re trying to work with the festivals to see what the best solution really is,” he added.

The city is aiming to have the Valley Line open by the end of 2020.

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