Boonstock moving ahead

Boonstock organizers are feeling confident everything is falling into place, after a meeting with the RCMP, Penticton Indian Band, RDOS and other stakeholders on Wednesday.

The meeting, held in Penticton, was for organizers to present their safety, security and traffic plans for the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival scheduled for the August long weekend.

"Organizers are very pleased with the way it went and we are looking forward to addressing some of the few remaining open items," said Mark Ziebarth, chair of the Boonstock Entertainment and Arts Society. "We gave them everything we had, and we believe we are almost all the way there in meeting stakeholders' expectations."

Ziebarth said they were also waiting to see what the outcome of Wednesday's discussions would be, before submitting their liquor license application.

They will submit the application to the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch as soon as it is finalized, but it has to be signed off by the RCMP and PIB before it can be sent.

They are planning on dealing with the application next week.

Organizers expect there to be 8,500 attendees, with a support group of 250 to 300 people at the event.

They have already put out a call for volunteers , and have some on board.

"We're hoping to attract other community groups, interested in exchanging labour for donations," said Ziebarth.

The site on PIB locatee land is currently being cleared and that is going smoothly.

"The site lends itself to controlling incoming and outcoming traffic, human and vehicular," said Ziebarth.

According to Penticton RCMP Staff Sgt. Kurt Lozinski , who has been serving as the liaison between the festival representatives and the RCMP, they did provide a much improved plan.

There are, just as Ziebarth said, still some areas that need further development, and the RCMP is working with organizers on what is needed.

"Everybody has their own area of expertise, and for the RCMP the primary objective is public safety," said Lozinski. "And there are still some areas in the safety plan we need to work on."

It's still Lozinski's feeling, however, that they are definitely behind where they should be in the planning.

"I believe this plan should have been presented six months ago," he said. "According to them they will be applying for the liquor license shortly and that is one of the things they are behind on."

The RCMP is also waiting for the final traffic plan from the Ministry of Transportation and how that will impact the site as well as the city of Penticton.

Because it is the long weekend, the RCMP is maxed out and has put out a call letter for additional resources.

Lozinski said they have acquired some of those resources, but are still looking for more.

"I think everyone would have been more comfortable if we were having these discussions a year ago, instead of six weeks from the event,"he said. "This is a major event coming to our community and it impacts all the emergency services in the city, not just on PIB land. But we are working closely with the promoters to develop the best plan we can."

Boonstock has received an endorsement from the Chamber of Commerce and recently announced its board of directors.

More information on the festival is available at Boonstock.ca.





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