April 3rd, 2011 11:10 am | by AILIN DARLING News | Posted In: City Hall

Friends of Last Thursday Makes Public Debut

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At a town hall meeting Saturday, city Commissioner Amanda Fritz introduced Friends of Last Thursday, an organization 15 months in the making that will assume the task of overseeing the monthly street festival on Northeast Alberta Street.

Reaction was mixed as Fritz unveiled the steering committee-a long-awaited answer to Last Thursday’s fate amid complaints from some residents that the monthly event has gotten out of hand.

"The city is not going to become the strong arm to close down or run Last Thursday,” Fritz said. Instead, an executive committee comprised of FoLT’s six founding members plus 15 others still to be determined will oversee smaller committees designated to tasks such as street operations, fundraising and communications.

For now, FoLT’s primary goal appears to be to recruit volunteers for its committees.

"FoLT will not be in control of the event,” Fritz said at Saturday's town hall at St. Andrew's Church on Northeast Alberta. “What we have is the structure to invite you to join in."

This proposed structure failed to impress some of Last Thursday’s critics. They say plans to deal with problems such as public drunkenness, high noise levels and unregulated vendors should be farther along.

"These issues have been around for years," says Rick Sills, a representative of the King Neighborhood Association.

Sheila Wilcoxson, a veteran of Last Thursday, believes the lack of clear leadership heading FoLT will also become a problem.

"At some point, you're going to have to have somebody saying yes and no,” she says.

But members of FoLT say they are hesitant to mess with Last Thursday’s organic and spontaneous appeal.

“This organization doesn’t claim to build walls around Last Thursday,” says Jeanne Giles, head of FoLT’s communications committee. “This is the beginning and we don’t have all the answers."
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