LETTERS: Excited for Boonstock opportunity

Leader of chamber of commerce says event being held to unfair standard that other music festivals aren't

The Penticton Wine Country Chamber of Commerce has chosen to support the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival, and is excited to see the opportunity it provides to our city.

Boonstock Music and Arts Festival will be taking place in Penticton, Aug. 1 to 3. The chamber of commerce believes this music festival will generate massive economic impact for Penticton, both in the short and long term. It is time to do away with short-sighted thinking and sabotage, and act as a community with vision in partnership with our First Nations neighbours.

We understand Boonstock has had some challenges with a few of our community’s emergency responders and the media has reported much of that conversation. The chamber believes all events should be measured and held to a firm standard that does not change with the weather. It is unfortunate that one event is subjected to a significantly higher standard, particularly when they are located on our neighbouring community. Having attended the most recent update from Boonstock to the Regional District’s Protective Services group, I can attest to the significant planning, preparation and expenditures that the organizers have completed.

At any large scale event, additional policing and security are a budgeted part of the plan. The national average for RCMP officers at a festival or event is one officer per 500 attendees. This is a standard formula used by the RCMP. Pemberton Music Festival is held to this, Squamish Music Festival is similar, but have opted to bring in 90 RCMP officers, bringing their ratio to 1:400 attendees. However, Boonstock is being forced to adhere to an expensive standard of one officer to 200 attendees, in addition to extensive private security. This festival is facing demands to meet an unheard of level of preparation, not seen by festivals in other jurisdictions around British Columbia.

In the short term, the Boonstock Festival will bring over 8,500 visitors to Penticton and inject a massive boost to the economy and the tourism industry. More than half of Boonstock guests are staying in local accommodations who will be taking advantage of local amenities.

That is reality. In the long term, if welcomed and treated right, those 8,500 visitors will become repeat customers of the amazing things Penticton has to offer.

Additionally, we must recognize the huge investment that has gone into creating a true festival grounds for the community. There are dozens of municipalities that would love to have the space and infrastructure to develop a festival grounds of this magnitude.

How lucky are we that a corporate citizen provided just such an investment without burdening taxpayers to build it? And the Penticton Indian Band, along with their locatee families, had enough vision to support the organizers and make this happen.

The potential and possibilities of this festival and the surrounding grounds are unlimited. Let’s pull our heads out of the sand, be thankful for this economic opportunity, act as united communities, and do what we can to support business.

Chamber members are invited to attend our members forum on July 8 with the organizers of Boonstock and representatives of the Penticton Indian Band. This will be a forum where issues of public safety, transportation and other pertinent items can be discussed and questions answered.

The forum will be held in the main board room of the chamber of commerce offices starting promptly at 6 p.m. on July 8.

Campbell Watt,

President of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce


Event gridlock unacceptable

I enjoy seeing old vehicles as do many other people, but traffic movement needs to be a much better handled during the Peach City Beach Cruise parade than this past Friday.

There appeared to be no provision for vehicles to cross Main Street at intervals so that anybody going east-west was stymied during the time it took a few hundred vehicles to travel, slowly, from Skaha Park north to Lakeshore Drive.

This is unacceptable.

Even during the annual triathlon or other such events, cross-street traffic is allowed at suitable intervals. The difference may be that in the latter the RCMP are usually involved whereas on Friday I saw no officers at the intersections.

I was picking up a friend living off South Main to attend a 7 p.m. event in Summerland and so had to cross Main Street twice at about 5:45 p.m.

At Green Avenue, a long line of vehicles was waiting to cross, so I went down to Yorkton Street. Again, there was a bottleneck, but the traffic manager there at least was sensible enough to allow us to get across when someone ahead pleaded with him.

On our way back to the Channel Parkway, however, my friend and I again got stuck at Green Avenue.

When she went to the men stopping traffic at the intersection and asked them to let us and other vehicles across, she was told that nobody was crossing until the parade was past.

Clearly this person was much less understanding (putting it politely!) than the other man, but just as clearly no provisions had been made to allow cross-street traffic during the parade.

This situation needs to be improved for next year.  The Peach City Beach Cruise isn’t the only event in the area.

Eva Durance



Canada should reap the benefit

Excellent letter from Clifford Martin, June 20, Penticton Western News. I thoroughly agree, but would like to add a few things.

There is no question that we need to export our oil, however, it must be done in an environmentally safe way.

At least as safe as possible, and  I don’t think that Northern Gateway satisfies those concerns. It must also be done with the consent and participation of First Nations.

As Mr. Martin correctly asks, “Why should China get the benefit of permanent jobs refining our oil while we shoulder the huge risks of shipping raw bitumen?”

It is  our resource and we should reap most of the benefits, not some other country! Let us not be apathetic about this issue. We had a referendum in B.C. regarding the HST not so long ago and we pushed back that legislation.

We have that power.

Marion A. Nordquist




More RCMP presence needed during events

As an accommodation property operator on Lakeshore Drive in Penticton for the last number of years, I cannot begin to express my disappointment regarding the lack of RCMP presence during the Peach City Beach Cruise weekend.

In particular on Saturday evening when the burn out fiasco between 8 p.m. and 11  p.m. was taking place, endangering the huge crowds gathered on both sides of the street, and some cars almost out of control with their irresponsible activities.

The out-of-town car club we host every year, with 20 rooms booked for the Cruise weekend, which had paid for spots on the street to show their cars moved them all onto our lot out of concern for damage, and expressed their disgust with the lack of police for this event, and I wholeheartedly agree with them.

So much for “feet on the street” from the new sheriff in town. Talk the talk, you better be prepared to walk the walk, because the ball was dropped on this one.

If this is the manner you plan to be more community involved with your members on the street, I shudder to think what is going to take place for Boonstock!

John Webster




A penny saved is a penny earned

The pundits at City Hall seem to have shot themselves in the foot again. All of a sudden what might, in reference to the Lakeside project, be a paltry sum for peace of mind and safety, is not important and too costly?

Let’s create an analogy of the city pundits being an auto manufacturer. They produce a luxury automobile with all the bells and whistles and then some.  It is very appealing to many individuals and the market potential seems pretty good and the product itself looks good.

The vehicles come off the assembly lines and gradually get into the hands of drivers. The price tag on these various models will vary, depending on the amenities that the customer orders.

The vehicles look good, perform well and are accepted reasonably well by consumers. But wait! Safety seems to have been compromised somewhere in that not one of these prestigious vehicles has any seatbelts, an important safety feature. No, they were not forgotten, they were just not installed at the time of manufacture.

Wow, imagine that, a very nice vehicle with no seatbelts!

What to do is the question! Seatbelts should not be a large cost factor. However, irrespective of the fact that they may not be deemed as a large cost factor, they are a huge safety factor.

The manufacturer has two choices. First, they can pony up the money to install seatbelts in these vehicles or they can face possible legal action down the road due to accidents and other possible safety violations. The answer here is pretty obvious.

Back to real issues. The monies (over $2 million) got the job done.  The project has appeal and comments from out-of-towners have been favourable.

However, they don’t live here and they don’t pay for these projects. The city has sold us “a vehicle” with all of the trimmings. However, now that there are safety issues, it seems that the recall of about $30,000 is too high a price to pay for something that should have been identified  before the project was completed.

What’s the cost for safety? What about accidents as a result of an oversight? Is there enough insurance to deal with any accident claims? Who knows?

The logical answer would seem to indicate that spending these “additional funds,” that  the City seems so reluctant to spend, might be likened to the old adage: “An ounce of medicine is worth a pound of cure!”

Ron Barillaro



Simply put

A good teacher is priceless.

Does not place a dollar value on the head of the student.

Never fades away.

Joe Schwarz,