Mounties are calling on Boonstock Music Festival organizers to reimburse the B.C. government for $250,000 in policing costs associated with the event.
In a press release issued Wednesday morning, Penticton RCMP Supt. Kevin Hewco said the August long weekend bash generated 150 police files that saw 38 people lodged in city cells.
Hewco couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday and his voicemail message indicated he’s on leave until Sept. 15.
He said in the release that although the festival policing cost was originally estimated at $200,000, it spiralled upwards when RCMP identified “gaps” in private security on site and increased its own staffing to compensate.
“It is incumbent upon the promoter to reimburse the provincial government for these special event policing costs so that they do not become a burden to taxpayers,” said Hewco.
Boonstock organizers could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hewco said officers exercised a “great deal of discretion” during the event as their role evolved from enforcement to public safety, and that concerns would have been heightened had the festival obtained a liquor licence.
“The planning of any major event plays a significant role in its success and safety,” said Hewco.
“From our view, I cannot label this event as a success, especially considering the fact that a young woman died.”
The 23-year-old Alberta woman who died from a suspected drug overdose was one of 90 people transferred from the site to Penticton Regional Hospital for treatment, according to figures previously released by Interior Health.
The event was staged on privately owned land within the Penticton Indian Reserve near the city’s airport.
More to come.