Penticton city council decided, albeit quietly, to maintain their neutral stance towards the Boonstock Music and Arts festival this week, neither endorsing nor opposing the event.
In light of their forum on July 8 with Boonstock organizers, the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce asked council to reconsider their decision to not endorse the festival.
At their regular Monday meeting, council decided not to follow through on a recommendation by the city’s Community and Business Development Committee that they vote to endorse Boonstock.
Council’s decision not to endorse came after the Western News discovered that International Crowd Management, who were to supply security and health services for the festival, had terminated their agreement. Boonstock has since contracted with 24/7 Security, based in Aldergrove, to supply security services.
“The chamber is satisfied with the planning and management that Boonstock has provided,” wrote Campbell Watt, chamber president, in a letter to council. “We ask that city council join the chamber of commerce in welcoming a new business to town and demonstrating that Penticton is truly open for business by endorsing the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival.”
As with the committee recommendation, council chose only to receive the chamber letter and not act on it.
Coun. Wes Hopkin was the only one to speak to it, reiterating his position that since Boonstock is taking place on Penticton Indian Band lands, council should remain neutral.
“I think the situation is the same as it was last meeting, said Hopkin. “I wish the organizers all the success, but it’s literally out of our jurisdiction, so I don’t think we really need to take a position on it.”
After the chamber’s letter was dealt with, however, Coun. Helena Konanz introduced a separate motion.
“I’d like to make a motion that we welcome and support everybody who is coming into our town for Boonstock,” said Konanz.
“There are going to be thousands of people in our town for this event, and we should welcome them.”
While Konanz’ motion passed, it wasn’t without challenges from Couns. Andrew Jakubeit and Katie Robinson.
“It sounds all fine and dandy, but what do you mean by welcome? Are we putting out a banner, are we going to greet them as they come to the gates? I am being sort of sarcastic, but I just want to understand how we are going to welcome everyone,” said Jakubeit.
Robinson was more direct, stating she wouldn’t be supporting Konanz’ motion.
“To me, we’re getting beyond the pale here when we have to say we are going to welcome people to our city. I would think that would go without saying,” said Robinson.
“We received the letter from the chamber, we are not endorsing anything.
“If people want to come and visit Penticton, that’s great, but I don’t think we need to be passing motions on that.”
Konanz’ welcoming motion passed with only Robinson voting in opposition.
Despite Boonstock’s claims through their twitter account last week that they had received their liquor license, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson confirmed via email Tuesday that a license has not yet been granted, and the Boonstock application is still under review by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.
Processing an application takes two to four weeks according to the LCLB, so with 10 days left before the start of Boonstock, the festival may yet get their liquor licence.