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Chamber supports Boonstock

The Penticton chamber of commerce announced this week that it is supporting the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival.

The endorsement specifically acknowledges the planning festival organizers have done to satisfy concerns about transportation, security and emergency services.

"I am extremely excited about the potential economic impact of a festival of this magnitude," said Campbell Watt, president of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce. "We will have thousands of visitors coming to Penticton that will be spending money at our local businesses."

According to the chamber, they believe festivals of this kind throughout North America have created a booming business and many communities are recognizing the economic benefits.

Communities such as Squamish, Pemberton, Salmon Arm and more are well known for their festivals and the rejuvenating effect they have on those communities' tourism industries.

Colin Kobza, president of Boonstock, said he is pleased the chamber is endorsing the festival.

"They are definitely a forward thinking organization and recognize the value and vision of Boonstock," he said.

While the chamber is showing support for the festival, slated for Aug. 1-3 on Penticton Indian Band land, RCMP  Supt. Kevin Hewco recently told the RDOS board there is a multitude of issues surrounding this and it is a work in progress.

A stakeholders' meeting is slated for June 4. The RCMP have also put out a call letter for overtime resources, because all the Penticton RCMP officers will be busy that weekend.

"The bulk of planning is on their plate, and we have to demonstrate to all stakeholders this can be done safely," he said. "We haven't seen that yet."

The chamber is also hosting an open forum for members from 6 to 7:30 p.m., June 19, regarding the safety and emergency planning by organizers and economic impacts of the festival. The forum will give members the opportunity to participate in an open dialogue with festival organizers.

More information on the festival itself, is available on the Boonstock website.

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