Council chose not to follow through this week on a recommendation from the city’s community and business development advisory committee that “council support the Boonstock event due to the economic value of this festival.”
The recommendation came after the committee had a roundtable discussion on June 25, just two days before security firm International Crowd Management announced they were terminating their service agreement with Boonstock, citing health and safety concerns over the festival’s security planning.
ICM became concerned after Boonstock organizers told them they wanted less security staff, and no first aid attendants/paramedic or lifeguards. Barb Haynes, the festival co-ordinator, has not returned phone calls since the Western News broke the story of ICM’s termination last Wednesday.
Haynes, who is also a member of the business development committee, abstained from voting on the motion recommending council support Boonstock.
Council didn’t agree to support Boonstock, but they also didn’t take a negative stance. Coun. Katie Robinson moved council only receive the committee’s recommendation, without acting on it, citing the new information about ICM.
Coun. Wes Hopkin said council shouldn’t be passing judgment one way or another, since Boonstock is being held on Penticton Indian Band lands, outside the city.
“There has been, obviously, some new information that has come in the last few days. I think it is sort of premature for us to judge this one way or another,” said Hopkin.
“ I do think the event will have to prove itself, and I think they will sink or swim based on their own performance.”
While Boonstock organizers have yet to respond to repeated requests from the Western News for comment on the ICM allegations and how they plan to move forward, notices, attributed only to Boonstock Festival on their Facebook page have been posted, first, on July 3, to reassure ticket buyers the festival would proceed as planned, then again on July 7 that “absolutely we will be serving liquor” in response to a festival goer’s concern.
The festival had not obtained a liquor licence prior to ICM terminating their security agreement. In order for the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch to approve a license, a comprehensive safety plan must be in place, and approved by the RCMP.
“If the organizers want to run Boonstock as a licensed event, they need approval from both the RCMP and the LCLB,” said a spokesperson for the government branch. “In terms of approval for a liquor licence, the LCLB generally requires three to six months for more complex events, allowing enough time to review the safety plan and work with organizers to mitigate any potential concerns.”
Even with RCMP approval, the LCLB generally requires two to four weeks to process, according to the spokesperson, who also said Boonstock’s organizers had been given until July 8 to produce a robust safety plan for the RCMP and the LCLB to review.