September 23, 2014 - 1:13 PM
PENTICTON - City council has taken its Boonstock woes straight to the provincial government and it appears the province is interested in taking it on, along with other large music festivals.
In a release today, the City of Penticton says its full contingent of mayor and councillors (minus only Coun. John Vassilaki) at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention lobbied government ministers to oversee festivals to ensure proper security, policing and emergency services is handled.
While Boonstock Music and Arts Festival technically moved to Penticton for the first time this year, Penticton City Hall had no involvement because it was on Penticton Indian Band land. City officials could only watch as the security company hired for the event pulled out at the last minute, as the event proceeded without a liquor licence and police resources were overly taxed for the already-busy August long weekend.
Mayor and council raised their concerns during face-to-face meetings with Attorney General Suzanne Anton and Health Minister Terry Lake. They suggested a B.C. approvals panel to create a central point of authority for event organizers to contact. Appointed members could include representatives from the heath authority, liquor control board, ambulance services, local government officials and local police authorities.
"Provincial ministers recognized the need for oversight and committed to working with affected agencies to create an approvals panel," the release said.
The provincial oversight body could assist promoters with pre-planning by outlining a definitive set of event criteria and anticipated timelines for implementation. It would make it easier to ensure security that resources are in place to ensure public safety.
“There is incredible economic opportunity with large-scale events, not only in terms of direct and indirect spending by event attendants, but the ripple effect of community exposure when resident recruitment is taken into account,” said Mayor Garry Litke. “Oversight of large-scale festivals is an opportunity to also ensure that resources from agencies like health regions and RCMP are appropriately allocated before, during and after the event.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014