General News · 25th June 2016
For those of you enjoying the festivities in Carrington this weekend, have a great time, look after each other and please be very aware of fire safety. There were some agitated complaints made yesterday to my Regional District staff about the 'rave' and so I offer here just a few words of clarification for all.
The Carrington 'Rave' has been going on for many years in the SRD Carrington Park to both the enjoyment and consternation of islanders. Last year, in the extreme dry weather, I received a few calls from people asking that the gathering be cancelled. Indeed, due to the dryness the organizers did just that - cancelled the event. This year it is a month earlier, more low-key and we have been blessed with a couple weeks of solid rain so the fire risk is much less - however always important to be vigilant!
Rain aside, I have been asked about the legitimacy of having such a large gathering in a SRD park. Very fair question. Through the development of parks regulations for our new Whaletown Commons Park, it came to light that Hank's Beach Park is the only Cortes SRD park with any regulation at all. This means that to date we have no authority to regulate the 'rave' or most other activities in our parks. There is also a 'special events' regulation that applies to the whole SRD and regulates gatherings of 1,000 or more - not a very relevant number given that most large gatherings that we might want to regulate would be smaller than 1,000 people, including the 'rave.'
In an effort to be proactive for this year, SRD staff visited Carrington a couple days ago and met with event organizers to discuss concerns and review safety plans. Staff will follow-up on Monday to assess the cleanliness of the site and debrief. This approach was determined to be more responsible than turning a blind eye which has been the historical approach. A copy of the letter sent from my staff to event organizers is pasted below.
For future years, rather than develop a park regulation for just the Whaletown Commons, I have asked that we draft one that applies to all our Cortes parks. Among many other things, this would need to contemplate if we want to permit large gatherings, and if so under what circumstances. Along with the fall review of our Cortes Zoning Bylaw, I have asked that we have community consultation about regulating parks and special events. So I would invite you this summer as you use our parks and attend summer festivities to think about what kind of regulation you would like, if any, noting that active enforcement would cost money from property taxes.
Thanks for your love of this place.
Regional Director, Cortes Island, 250-935-0320, directorcortesisland.com
Strathcona Regional District
Letter sent from SRD Parks staff to Carrington 'rave' organizers June 24th, 2016
In respect to the event being held the weekend of June 25 2016 in Carrington Bay Park. The Strathcona Regional District does not sanction this event and holds many concerns including but not limited to:
Public Safety - With Carrington Bay being an isolated park, in the event of a injury or emergency an appropriate and efficient evacuation and safety plan is needed.
Public Health – provision of sufficient restroom and hand washing stations.
Fire – Carrington Bay is an isolated park that is inaccessible for a fire fighting response. That said all available efforts must be made to prevent wildfires.
Park damage – any damage to the parks trails, natural features or infrastructure is unacceptable.
Erection of Park Infrastructure – the erection of park infrastructure is not permitted.
Park Condition – the park should be used and left same condition as it was found. All garbage and recycling should be removed and taken to the appropriate disposal facility. The event cannot increase the regular maintenance schedule for SRD contractors.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Parks and Facilities Technician