Rock of the Woods has gone over and above on community outreach

Re: Neighbours oppose Rock of the Woods location Rock of the Woods is a modest sized, community oriented music festival entering its fifth year in the Cowichan Valley. As a notfor-profit event run by a professional and dedicated groups of volunteers, it was disheartening to read misleading statements regarding the festival’s outreach in the Sahtlam community.

Contrary to the letter writer’s assertions, on April 17 and June 7 the festival’s Community Outreach Coordinators went door-todoor to speak with residents closest to the festival site. If we were unable to speak to residents in person, we left a letter providing our contact details and information on the festival. At Vimy Hall and on local post boxes we also placed information posters that encourage residents to contact us.

Of the many residents we were able to speak with in person, via email, and on the phone, there have been expressions of excitement and of concern. Several residents have reminded us that traffic and fire suppression are top of mind. The festival has a comprehensive operations plan to address these issues and community feedback has helped us fine-tune it. Moreover, we have been working closely with the RCMP, the Sahtlam Fire Hall, and the CVRD on these and other matters.

Under the existing bylaws in CVRD Area E, the size and scope of the festival, which is taking place on a large piece of private property, means that we are under no obligation to conduct community outreach. However, we conduct outreach because speaking with and hearing from residents helps us make Rock of the Woods the best festival it can be. The festival’s core team of volunteers were born and raised in the Cowichan Valley and we value and respect our communities.

We know that Area E decision makers are currently working on creating a Temporary Use Permit for large events such as concerts, festivals, and weddings. We welcome the opportunity to formalize a process that we have already been engaged in.

It is unfortunate that we have not yet heard from the 63 residents the letter writer claims to speak for. We look forward to the opportunity to provide information, but letting misleading claims about our efforts go unchallenged is not something we are prepared to do. The festival is taking place from July 25 to 27 and we will continue to work with passion to make it a fun, safe, and respectful event for both residents and attendees.

David Bain, Director Rock of the Woods Festival