Penticton RCMP are now coming forward without hesitation and saying the previously estimated policing costs for the long weekend, (featuring the Boonstock Music Festival) won't even be close.
Although they have not figured out the final numbers, Cst. Kris Clark says costs are expected to far exceed the original estimates due to the need for additional resources above and beyond the initial operational plan.
He says the Penticton RCMP were extremely busy, beyond what they could have anticipated. He notes that the BC Day long weekend is historically the busiest weekend of the year already, without the addition of a major music festival in town.
“With the addition of "Boonstock", the pressure on emergency services was taken to unprecedented levels in the South Okanagan,” says Clark.
He notes the Boonstock Music Festival was expected to bring thousands of people into town and the Penticton RCMP prepared accordingly, bringing in extra resources in order to sufficiently police the event, but it turned out not to be enough.
Sadly, the event experienced a major tragedy when 24-year-old Lynn Tolocka died from an apparent drug overdose on Friday night, causing alarm for the overwhelmed emergency and security operations.
“That concern appeared to be warranted based on a large number of attendees experiencing overdose symptoms throughout the weekend,” explains Clark who says in order to address increasing concerns and a gap left by private security, the RCMP enhanced their police resources once again.
"Though we had a dedicated group of police officers assigned to the event, additional resources were called in to help deal with the demands," says Superintendent Kevin Hewco, Detachment Commander for the Penticton RCMP.
"Public safety was our priority and, by working closely with the BC Ambulance Service and local health authority, we were able to create an effective team."
A detailed accounting of the policing costs as well as policing statistics is currently underway and will be released at a later date.