The Roots Cultural Association is desperately seeking storage space for the costumes used in the annual Carifiesta parade.
They have been stored in the Snowdon Theatre building, but a leaking roof caused flooding in the basement, triggering an electrical problem that required an intervention from the fire station.
The rooms filled with smoke, according to association treasurer Rafael Inskip, but the costumes were not in the basement and were not damaged. After this incident, the occupants were asked with a few weeks notice to vacate the building by Feb. 8, he said.
The Roots Cultural Association has been making costumes since 1977 for youths participating in the Carifiesta parade. It has been taking part in Carifiesta since the beginning, the only original group remaining.
New costumes are made every year. Until 2010 they were stored at the Bill Durnam arena, but the storage space started to be used during the summer and, according to Inskip, they were offered a place at the Snowdon Theatre.
Since storage space was offered at no charge for about 16 years, the association didn’t have a budget for that cost, so renting for the long term is not an option.
They have about 40 large costumes to store, including ten with steel frames that have to be mounted on wheels during the street parade because of their weight.
“That’s the problem we’re having right now. We have lots of costumes and we need one big room because they’re all stacked on top of each other,” he said.
Storage isn’t the only problem the association encountered over the years. They need a place to make new costumes or transform old ones. One year, they didn’t find space, so they turned to a storage company and ran up a bill of $700 for two months rent.
The association has liability insurance on the costumes for about $100 per year with BFL Canada, but the association can’t put a price on them. “Some of those costumes go back 12 years,” he said.
The association appealed the notice to vacate to Mayor Russell Copeman, asking for an extension.
The association’s president, Simon Thomas, was out of town and could not be reached for comment.
Snowdon district councillor Marvin Rotrand could not be reached for comment at press time.
Marie Cicchini | firstname.lastname@example.org