I am dismayed by Penticton council’s apparent lack of sensitivity to people in surrounding neighbourhoods when it plans for downtown concert and festival events. The recent cancellation of the Sound of Summer concert prompted me to write the following letter to city council.
Mayor Ashton and city councilors:
I would like to thank you for supporting RCMP Insp. Brad Haugli when he recommended the cancellation of the Sound of Summer event. I appreciated his thoughtful analysis of the situation, and was relieved when council heeded his concerns.
According to the Penticton Western, Insp. Haugli explained the difference between Peach Festival concertgoers and those likely to attend a loud rock concert; ie: that the Peach Festival featured family entertainment, while the Sound of Summer event would have featured “rave type” music which has a more limited draw. He also said that those attracted would likely require a greater police presence in the downtown area.
I live in an apartment three blocks west of downtown and the festival parks. Whatever goes on in the parks affects me, as it does all the other residents who live in areas surrounding the downtown core and on the benches above. Like it or not, we hear it all, and have no choice in the matter. Even closing windows doesn’t help when the music is very loud, as it was sometimes in the evenings during the Peach Festival. Also, we often have to deal with the late night “spillover” after the close of events, noise and sometimes rowdiness on surrounding streets as people make their way home.
As Insp. Haugli pointed out, the Peach Festival is a long-treasured community event, and it provides great summer entertainment for citizens and visitors alike. Most of the people I talk to in my neighbourhood are quite willing to put up with the loud sounds of this made-in-Penticton celebration because we know everyone is having a good time, and anyway, it comes just one week a year.
However, I personally find the prospect of more concerts of loud music (especially very loud music with a heavy beat) and roaring crowds not at all appealing and even worrying. I know that other residents also have concerns. Our enjoyment of summer evenings is seriously affected when we cannot have windows open or enjoy our yards without the noise of highly amplified singers and bands thrumming in our ears. Further, the necessity to ensure a greater “police presence” at such concerts does nothing to allay our concerns.
I wonder how many other homeowners who live in or close to downtown might have objections to overly loud concerts and also the recently extended concert hours? How does city council take into account the needs and preferences of people in nearby neighbourhoods when it considers events that will attract tourists and generate income for local businesses? Or does it?
I am grateful that Insp. Haugli is looking out for the best interests of Penticton citizens.
In making this letter public, I am hoping that it might prompt others who have similar concerns to make them known to city council.