Slocan Valley’s special events bylaw to be reviewed for effectiveness

·2 min read

A newly minted bylaw to try to control large, noisy parties in the Slocan Valley is going back to staff for review.

Regional District of Central Kootenay Area H Director Walter Popoff called for the review of the Special Events Bylaw at the August meeting of the board.

“It is a serious issue in Area H,” he says. “We want staff to take a look at the weak spots, how we can tighten it up.”

The bylaw, which is only in effect in Area H (Slocan Valley), compels event organizers to register with the RDCK, and provide officials with their plans for emergency services, security, water and sewage management at any event with more than 200 people. It gives the RDCK the right to impose terms and conditions such as fire protection, dust control and noise control, and requires organizers to pay an application fee and a security deposit.The bylaw was first written to apply to the entire RDCK, but Area H, known to be a hotspot for raves in the summer, was the only area to adopt it.

Popoff said he thinks the bylaw was effective in dissuading the organizer of at least one large event this year to rethink his plans, but several events have also taken place in defiance of the bylaw.

“There was an event in Winlaw where he was going to have more than 200 people there, and when he looked at the requirements, he decided not to go ahead with it,” says Popoff. “But we had an event where a permit was not applied for, and we had the community tell us more than 200 people attended, but we have no away of confirming that. So we’re going to take a look at it, look at what recommendations there are from the bylaw officer, the RCMP who attended the event, and see how we can tighten it up.”

Popoff said he couldn’t pinpoint any particular weaknesses in the bylaw, but asked staff for a review based on their experiences this year to see if there were ways of improving it.

“It hasn’t been very effective, so I’ve asked staff to take a second look at it in conjunction with our bylaw officer to see what action we can take to make it more effective,” he says.

Staff will come back later in the fall with ideas for beefing up the bylaw’s regulations.

RDCK senior staff had flagged problems with the legislation when it was first proposed, raising concerns about having enough staff to enforce the bylaw in a timely matter, and the safety of responding officers, among others. They also warned it could catch larger events (like weddings) that tend not to cause noise or other issues.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice