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Yellowknife councillors reject Folk on the Rocks half-day

Yellowknife city councillors voted against making the first day of the Folk on the Rocks festival a civic half-day holiday.

Organizers from the festival had asked council to make Friday July 16 a half-day civic holiday, so more people could attend the festival.

However, city councillors rejected the idea, citing the fact that only city hall staff would receive the day off, while other workers would have to still head into the office.

Councillor Niels Konge wasn’t in support of the idea because it would be unfair to other residents. 

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“I think it creates a division in the community for all those poor people who don’t have government jobs, go to work,” said Konge.

Councillor Stacie Smith said she hadn’t heard a lot of support for the idea, noting residents who run small businesses had to work under COVID-19 restrictions while many government employees worked from home.

Councillor Julian Morse says he was surprised to hear how little support there was for the motion.

“Folk on the Rocks is an outdoor festival. It’s an opportunity for people to get outside and enjoy the event, and I don’t see too much harm in doing this,” he said. “Considering the circumstances we’re in, I’m tentatively in favour, but I wouldn’t suggest we do this outside of abnormal circumstances.”

Ultimately, only Morse and Councillor Shauna Morgan voted to support the motion.

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The territorial government supports one half-day civic holiday per community per year. 

Yellowknife, usually has been taken up by the Long John Jamboree – but the jamboree was cancelled this year due to Covid-19. 

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