Boonstock causes concern on council

Politicians still waiting for answers from music festival organizers about safety plans

City council hasn’t issued an official stand on Boonstock lately, but there is no doubt how Coun. Katie Robinson feels about the upcoming music festival.

“Given the facts in front of me that I personally will not be able to support this event,” said Robinson, who is a member of the city’s protective services committee.

Robinson made it clear that was her personal position, but added that the protective services committee has serious concerns with the lack of substance contained in the Boonstock plan they were looking at.

“I know it is not in our jurisdiction, but it is on our doorstep and my personal concern is that I want to make sure the taxpayers of Penticton don’t inadvertently end up footing the bill for something that had nothing to do with them,” said Robinson, who would like Boonstock representatives to come talk to council and clarify their plans.

“It seems like everyone you talk to gives you a different answer. I wanted to just shed some light that there is a lot of concern, especially with protective services, regarding this event and how it is progressing or not, as the case may be,” said Robinson.

“It seems like we hear a lot through the media and it would be nice to know what the facts are.”

A tour of the Boonstock site was conducted last Friday, but Robinson said she did not receive an invitation. Other councillors said they only received an invite the night before the tour, too late for them to fit it in their plans.

“Same for me, I got the invitation Thursday night and my Friday was already booked.” said Mayor Garry Litke.

Coun. Judy Sentes said she expects to attend a second tour next week.

Robinson cited a particular concern over who would end up paying to handle police files generated by the RCMP during the event.

In the case of Boonstock, extra RCMP are coming in for the weekend, at the festival’s cost. But Robinson said the files they generate might end up being left for Penticton RCMP to deal with.

“If we can base it on what happened in Alberta, we are talking 300 plus files,” said Robinson. “Generally speaking, what happens is those end up back in the local detachment.

“So they have a stack of files this high and I want to know who is going to pay for those man hours to follow up on all those things.”

Robinson said she wants to ensure the City of Penticton and its taxpayers don’t end up paying costs for an event happening outside city boundaries.