September 24, 2014 - 2:30 PM
PENTICTON - Penticton council has an unexpected supporter for its push to put oversight for large-scale events under the provincial umbrella—the Boonstock Music and Arts festival.
All but one member of Penticton's councillors and mayor used the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention this week to lobby provincial government ministers hard to take on the regulatory burden and help municipalities avoid the kind of problems it encountered with the festival this year, the first year it was held in Penticton. And if that means a one-stop shop for festivals to deal with liquor licences and emergency services, Boonstock is cautiously supportive.
“I have hope that it is an initiative that could clarify for all parties the expectations for an event,” says Barb Haynes, Boonstock organizer.
She is “certainly interested to see what happens” and would like for event organizers to be included in discussions with provincial officials, she says. There also needs to be criteria that organizers can follow to ensure the government’s expectations are met, she says.
The City of Penticton says it got a warm response Tuesday after a presentation from Mayor Garry Litke to Attorney General Suzanne Anton, Health Minister Terry Lake and RCMP, liquor board officials, health authorities and other municipalities.
“Both ministers said it’s an issue that needs to be addressed,” Litke said today. "It’s in the governments’ courts now.”
This action is about improving large-scale events, like Boonstock, rather than try and micro-manage them, he said. There were 200 to 300 people who didn’t have such a great time at that festival, but there were 10,000 people in Penticton for that festival who did have a really great time and we don’t want take that away from them, he says.
Boonstock is great for our town and council supports it, he says, but they just want to eliminate some of the risk factor.
The city didn't have any say in the Boonstock plans this year because the festival was held on Penticton Indian Band land, which is out of the city’s jurisdiction.
There is no official deadline when the government needs to come back with a plan, but something will be in place by next festival season, Likte says. And he has no problem raising the issue with ministers if no progress is made in the coming months.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014