Wait a minute! Our group opposing the siting of the Rock of the Woods on Irvine Drive has grown used to being painted as “naysayers” by the Citizen’s Kevin Rothbauer but the Nov. 6 page 3 article, “Deep Divisions” goes beyond that into the ridiculous!
Anyone who reads that unidentified “opponents of the festival” claimed that an illegitimate baby was born at the event, a dog’s death was caused by the loud music, and that the festival was compared to the “spawn of Satan” will conclude that opponents to the event are all nutters.
Sadly, reporting such nonsense, without any attribution, has the effect of dismissing any opponent, no matter how rational, well-researched and honest their arguments.
Your reporter does the whole neighbourhood a disservice by not identifying his sources for the more off-the-wall comments. If he had talked to anyone in our group, he would know that we are not against Rock of the Woods, but we are against it being held again in this vulnerable part of our rural residential neighbourhood.
The festival was granted a temporary land use permit for 2015, which we felt was a mistake, and we definitely do not want to see the festival become a permanent event in this location, for these main reasons:
• Fire is a constant worry in the summer, where the property and the one road that provides legal access to it are usually tinder-dry. We know how quickly an unattended candle or carelessly dropped cigarette butt could ignite this fuel and spread to our yards, barns, livestock, and homes.
• Also related to the fire danger is our concern that the site has only one legal access point, via the narrow and ill-maintained Sunrise Drive. Not only is the overgrown drive itself a possible ignition site, we can’t imagine how emergency vehicles would use it to reach the site if there were a fire, as it would soon be blocked by locals and festivalgoers needing to flee.
• With no onsite showers, we are concerned about the health of our river when up to 1,200 visitors are invited to use it for bathing. (The organizers deny that number but have applied for 416 campsites. They can’t deny that bathers will bring soap, shampoos, etc.) The Cowichan, a heritage river, is especially vulnerable at that time of year when levels are low.
In short, we have legitimate objections to the non-agricultural use of this rural residential land, whether for this rock festival or any other high-occupancy event, and hope that the CVRD has the vision to put the long-time health of our area first, before commercial interests.