UBCM meeting on large-scale events

Provincial oversight of large-scale events was broached with B.C. government representatives at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention today.

Mayor and Council were able to raise concerns during face-to-face meetings with B.C. cabinet ministers in Whistler, including a meeting with the Hon. Suzanne Anton, Minister of Attorney-General, and Hon. Terry Lake, Minister of Health, regarding oversight of large-scale events. The provincial government has regulatory and budgetary jurisdiction over the range of protective services that go into making a festival - from policing to health, emergency management and liquor control.

Establishing provincial oversight in the form of a B.C. approvals panel for large-scale events would create that central point of authority required to effectively and efficiently assist promoters plan their event. Appointed members could include representatives from the Provincial Health Services Authority, Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, British Columbia Ambulance Service, policing representatives from the jurisdictional force, local government representatives, business community (local Chambers of Commerce) and/or land owners.

This provincial oversight body could assist promoters with pre-planning by outlining a definitive set of event criteria and anticipated timelines for implementation – making B.C. the easiest jurisdiction to hold a large-scale event in Canada.

These checklists would also enable the provincial government to ensure that resources on the part of agencies and the promoter are appropriately allocated and public safety is taken into account – establishing the event as a safe and fun space for all.

“There is incredible economic opportunity with large-scale events, not only in terms of direct and indirect spending by event attendants, but the ripple effect of community exposure when resident recruitment is taken into account,” said Penticton Mayor Garry Litke. “Oversight of large-scale festivals is an opportunity to also ensure that resources from agencies like health regions and RCMP are appropriately allocated before, during and after the event.”

During today's meeting, provincial Ministers recognized the need for oversight and committed to working with affected agencies to create an approvals panel.