Chalk this up to, ‘if we knew then what we know now’ way of getting you in and out of Rogers Place. The deluge of rain Saturday night exposed some problems that the dry weather up until then hid. And officials at Rogers Place are already putting in motion some physical changes.
“Yeah we’ve been meeting extensively since Saturday’s concert, to look at the operation of the pedestrian access portal,” confirmed Tim Shipton of the Oilers Entertainment Group.
Heavy rain soaked the portal, the concrete walkway that leads from the main public entrance point at 103 st and 103 ave that was designed to get the majority of customers into the building, even though it’s through a construction site. That walkway is exposed to the elements.
“There were a few spots where the drainage was not as adequate as it should be so we’re going to enhance the drainage through out the portal,” Shipton confirmed. “The second thing is we found that the original concrete surface which was installed could be enhanced with better grip, so we’re going to be adding a more adhesive surface.”
And since that portal is open to the elements, they’ll have leaf blowers at the ready when snow hits, even during an event. “We’ve got a very detailed winter and extreme weather maintenance protocol in preparation for the winter months because we know one thing is for certain, we get weather in this town and we want to be ready to handle it.”
Rain hit, well before Dolly Parton left the stage, so the decision was made, because of the slippery conditions to close the portal, and as a result, close part of Ford Hall, what used to be known as the Winter Garden.
“When the decision was made to close the pedestrian access portal, a portion of Ford Hall was stantioned off, to help facilitate the flow out of the building, so I’d say about half of Ford Hall was stationed off, after the concert,” said Shipton.
“We feel that was the right decision. What we’re going to work on, our guests are communicated with as best as possible if that situation were to ever arise again.”
One other criticism was the sign that lets you know when the doors open. WIth the two hour indication, it really wasn’t clear, because for these two concerts, Shipton said that wasn’t the case. “That might have created some confusion. That the ‘up to’, some people took as 2 hours, so we’re going to adjust that.”
For Oilers and Oil Kings hockey, the two hour lead time will happen, however when it’s a concert, it’s up to the promoter, Shipton said.
He said about 6,000 took in the viewing party for the World Cup game Sunday night. Tuesday and Wednesday will be the Drake concerts, with the sold out Oil Kings home opener on Saturday and the Oilers first pre-season game against the Calgary Flames Monday the 26th.
“I think we’re going to look at how we get people in and out of the building,” Shipton said. “Lessons learned at every event, that’s for sure.” (sj)