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Litke: Festivals need to be regulated

Mayor Garry Litke issued comments Thursday in regards to the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival, held in Penticton over the August long weekend.

The mayor said in moving forward, he is requesting meetings with the attorney general and the minister of health.

"I would like to meet with them at UBCM in September because I think it's time for some provincial oversight on events of this magnitude, (such as Boonstock), because we as a local government don't have jurisdiction to enforce what we believe necessary for health and safety, and these events are becoming more popular and bigger," he said.

There needs to be a mechanism in place to ensure public safety is protected, and I took huge offence at people relegating her, (the young woman who died at the festival), to a statistic and a cost of doing business, he added.

At the meetings, the mayor will propose that the provincial government sets criteria and timelines for guarantees around a whole list of issues including policing, safe water, sanitary conditions, medical and more.

"It's not good enough to just write off a person's death," he said. "It's time for the government to step in and regulate these things."

Boonstock organizers have also expressed sadness over the death of Lynn Tolocka, 24, of Leduc, Alberta at the festival.

They issued this public statement after her death:

"Late last night, we learned that one of our guests at the Boonstock Music Festival became distressed while dancing at one of our stages. Despite the best efforts of medical professionals, she tragically passed away at the Penticton Regional Hospital. We are deeply saddened by this news and we know that our communities will band together and keep her and her loved ones in our thoughts.

The culture of a music festival is one that provides a place where everyone belongs, is welcomed and watches out for one another. We would like to acknowledge our security team and guests who were quick to find help and assist emergency responders. 

Lastly, and most important, we send our condolences to the loved ones of this young woman. We are deeply saddened by this news and send our thoughts and prayers."

The Boonstock Music & Arts Festival family

Boonstock organizers will not comment further on this matter out of respect for the family.

Meantime, in a poll published by Castanet, nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated Boonstock should not be allowed to return in 2015.

Of the 830 people who responded to the question, "Should Boonstock return to Penticton in 2015,?" 65.54 per cent said no while 34.46 per cent stated yes.





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