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City's portable stage could benefit charities; instead, up for auction; organizers shocked

PHOTO : The Stageline SL50 stage in a promotional image from Stageline Mobile stage Inc. (c) Stageline www.stageline.com (c) Stageline

A Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo attempt to auction off a portable stage it inherited from the bankrupt Events Wood Buffalo closed today with no bids. The stage was refurbished in 2014 and is in fully working condition according to the auction documentation.

It was a shock to local event planners and charities that the stage was listed on Gov Deals website to be auctioned off with the reason being “no longer required.”’  Event planners and local charities are hoping the city will reconsider and start to rent the stage to companies.  Failing that, there is hope a local business will purchase it, keep it in the community and rent it out.

The portable stage takes 30 minutes to deploy.  Local event planners and producers are certified from the manufacturer of the stage to set it up safely and in accordance with the installation and use guidelines.

Since the city took possession of the stage, local events and organizations repeatedly turn to out-of-town companies to rent staging.

Several local charitable event organizers told MyMcMurray that rental cost could be over $2000 per day plus accommodations for the crews delivering and setting it up.

Locally based Aluma Systems can make staging out of scaffolding but this setup takes several days to assemble and tear down and can have considerably more labour and expense.

A number of community groups have requested to either borrow or rent the portable stage from the Municipality.  Most recently the Fort McMurraty Food Festival had their request refused for their event in July.  Moreover, MyMcMurray newsroom research into the matter can not find a single approval to any request in the two plus years the city has had the stage.

The city of Petawawa, ON has the same model of portable stage and offers a rental program to community groups with no legal or liability flowing back to the city.  Full details on that program are available here.

MyMcMurray has reached out to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo regarding the future of this important community asset and potentially duplicating the rental program from Petawawa.  Nobody with authority to speak to the matter was available prior to publishing deadline.  We will update this story should new information become known.