Re: Festivals: unique marketing opportunities for communities
I read with interest your article in the Citizen, written by Mr. Peter Watts, the manager of the Best Western Inn, Chemainus on the above topic.
I would suggest that perhaps the author might like to have SunFest Festival in Chemainus or wherever you live and market accordingly. Having anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 people attending a number of festivals in Lake Cowichan/Youbou over the summer months is nonsensical. We do not have the infrastructure or population to handle festivals or any event of this magnitude, i.e. an appropriate venue, emergency/police services, highway capacity, parking, tax base etc.
I suggest you have a look at the article in the Globe & Mail regarding the Boonstock Festival in Penticton that went bankrupt and left the taxpayers with a police bill of $270,000.
A death occurred and some 80 people admitted to hospital with drug overdoses etc.
Also the festivals back East (Barrie) that have had similar problems. I have worked on a number of festivals over my working career and seen the mismanagement. Who is to be footing the tax bill for all the negative impacts on the community?
You are looking at this purely from a tourism development perspective, that you are hoping will increase your business and not what fallout there might be for the residents in the Cowichan Valley, i.e. damage to properties and lake, fire hazards, water restrictions (as there were this year), displacement of wildlife, traffic congestion, garbage, drugs, drunkenness, noise factor, and disorderly conduct with a limited police force and subsequent increased taxes, devaluation of properties.
Try looking at the whole picture. It appears that the CVRD is being irresponsible in even considering something of this magnitude, on top of the car racing track that is currently being installed just off Highway 18 near Tansor Road. This is a rainforest area and we are supposed to be protecting the environment, not destroying it. It is starting to look like a war zone on Highway 18.
As usual this has become all about the almighty dollar and the greed of the big businessman. Incidentally, I understand, the developer/applicant for re-zoning the property, planning these huge festivals is a realtor, (former hockey player) reported to live in Arizona. Obviously it is not going to be held in his backyard.