In an open letter to the people of Penticton on Wednesday afternoon, Douglas Scott, general manager for the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch has come forward to explain how the LCLB decision to deny Boonstock’s licence application was made.
Scott also noted that the RCMP still does not have an agreement with Boonstock to cover the costs of 40 officers detailed to the festival.
“We have been in touch with the RCMP and I am confident they have put in place the appropriate measures to protect public safety at Boonstock despite the fact that, at the time of writing this letter, they still do not have an agreement in place with organizers to cover the policing costs at the festival, as is normally required,” wrote Scott.
Scott rejected the idea that giving Boonstock a liquor licence would have resulted in a safer event than otherwise.
“I can confidently say that approving a liquor licence would not have improved the level of public safety at Boonstock as has been suggested,” wrote Scott.
LCLB concerns, he wrote, included unclear evacuation routes and a lack of proof of signed contracts for security, emergency first responders, drinkable water, waste and tents.
During a press conference Wednesday, Barb Haynes, director of operations for Boonstock disputed those claims, saying they had contracts in hand, but were not asked for them by the LCLB.
Scott wrote their primary concern is for festival goers, who they want to have a safe and fun weekend.
“To be clear, a rejection of a liquor application or the absence of a supplemental policing agreement does not mean that the festival organizers are absolved of the responsibility to ensure an appropriate level of security at their event,” wrote Scott.
See Friday’s Penticton Western News for the full letter.