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Thu, Nov 08, 2012

Canadian Air Show Facing Financial Difficulties

Organizers Dealing with $350,000 In Debt

A barrel of red ink is threatening to cancel the Waterloo Air Show in Ontario, Canada. Organizers reportedly are trying to deal with a $350,000 (CAD) debt accumulated over the past couple of years. The show's producers said if they are not able to secure additional funding by next month, they will be forced to cancel next year's show.

Producers David White and Richard Cooper made an appeal before the Waterloo Regional Council Tuesday, seeking over $91,000 in assistance to stage the show. The 2012 edition of the show came up about $100,000 short, according to a report appearing in the Waterloo newspaper The Record. The show's organizers had counted on grant money, including $75,000 from the Canadian federal government, that did not come through, and the show was forced to cut some acts and events.

While some councillors were in favor of helping put on the show, others expressed concerns. Data provided by Tourism Ontario seems to indicate that the show's economic impact for the region has steeply declined, and the show's gate receipts appear to bear that out. Part of the reason for the event's deficit is a decline in revenue of $172,000 in 2012.

Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig said that while the council had helped non-profits in the past, he is not certain it can bail out a private concern like the air show. He said that if the council approves money for the air show, other private entities could come before the council seeking similar assistance. "Before we make any decisions, we need to get consensus on what our policy and attitude's going to be," he said.

The airport, of course, hopes the show can survive. Region of Waterloo International Airport Manager Chris Wood said the show is a great marketing opportunity for the airport, calling it "very important to us."

(File image of Canada's Snowbirds jet demonstration team, one of the acts that performed at the 2012 Waterloo Air Show)



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