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Monday, 31 July 2017 07:22

Monthly star-gazing events at Vulcan Trek Station are cancelled

Written by  Demi Knight
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The monthly star-gazing events at Vulcan’s Tourism and Trek Station came to an end this June as rent increased on the building.


These star-gazing events, which were held monthly by Neel Roberts with the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada Calgary Chapter, will no longer be able to afford the spike in rent needed to cover the cost of using the space each month within the Trek Station.
Roberts, the organizer and an avid star gazer, says the monthly event will be missed by the community.
“It’s tragic for both the community and a grave decision for the town when you consider how competitive tourism dollars are,” he adds. “We drew thousands from all over the world and their brand got boosted as a result.”
With the needs of the tourist station in mind, committee members feel remorse for the loss of the event, yet say the change was needed to cover the costs for hosting events.
“It was nice to have here, but
like anything, you have to reassess situations and decide what’s best for business aspects, and it just wasn’t covering the cost to run the business on those nights,” says Chantel DeBolt, administrative assistant of the Vulcan Tourism and Trek Station.
“We are a non-profit organization and we can’t keep someone else’s event afloat, but we are more than willing to work with Neel on the situation,” adds DeBolt.
In previous years, the rent was priced at $50 per month, however there was never an agreement signed, causing the station to work pro-bono for many of the events that Roberts held says DeBolt. The rent increase, which has been in the works for the past five months, comes with the need to cover costs for the building during these events. These expenses, pertaining to the price of staffing for two hours a month as well as being able to provide refreshments, electricity and basic uses of the building being open has caused the Trek Station to take a second look at their expenditures.
Although the station can no longer work with Roberts to provide these events, the suggestion of a sponsor was offered by Trek Station officials to try and keep the nights afloat.
“They suggested getting a sponsor, but we’re not able to do so. As a small business person, who has helped other owners market they’re business, I suggested a different approach, but it was flatly turned down,” says Roberts of the other options explored to keep the event alive.
DeBolt added the station worked
to come up with a solution for the continuance of the event however, upon trying, came up short.
“We’ve given plenty of time to come up with agreement and tried to contact the company themselves that Roberts goes through for these star-gazing sessions and never received a response. They don’t wish to sign the agreement nor do they have the funds so there’s nothing more we can do.”
Although the monthly star-gazing nights were a passion for some, and an attraction for others to attend and will be missed, Trek Station officials work hard throughout the community to be involved with events all year.
By keeping busy with larger festivities such as Spock Days and Vul-Con as well as offering their hands to smaller surrounding area events, DeBolt says the Trek Station doesn’t have the time or money to expel on an evening that cannot fund the space and that the community will still thrive without.
Roberts however, still feels the sting of the dismissal of this educational and world escaping event and says with no plans to replace the star-gazing nights, the community may feel the hit.
“We were the busiest event for most of the year since 2010 outside of Spock Days and Vul-Con and they have no plans to replace it.”

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