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Penticton RCMP swamped with inclusion of Boonstock Music Festival to South Okanagan long weekend

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
August 7th, 2014

On the eve of the 17th Shambhala Music Festival beginning Thursday  at a ranch outside Salmo, the Penticton RCMP issued a press release regarding the recent Boonstock Music Festival where one person died and 80 were transported to hospital.

“The Penticton RCMP were extremely busy over the past few days considering the BC Day long weekend is historically the busiest of the year, even without a major music festival in town,” Cst. Kris Clark Acting District Advisory NCO for the Southeast District said in a media release.

“With the addition of “Boonstock”, the pressure on emergency services was taken to unprecedented levels in the South Okanagan.”
About 8000 tickets were sold for the Boonstock Music Festival that featured such acts as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Mother Mother.

RCMP brought in extra staff to deal with the influx of people.

Clark said the event experienced a major tragedy when a 24-year-old Alberta woman died from an apparent drug overdose on Friday night, causing alarm for the overwhelmed emergency and security operations.

That concern appeared to be warranted based on a large number of attendees experiencing overdose symptoms throughout the weekend.
Clark said in order to address increasing concerns and a gap left by private security, the RCMP enhanced their police resources for the final two days in order to bolster security and public safety.
“Though we had a dedicated group of police officers assigned to the event, additional resources were called in to help deal with the demands,” says Superintendent Kevin Hewco, Detachment Commander for the Penticton RCMP.

“Public safety was our priority and, by working closely with the BC Ambulance Service and local Health Authority, we were able to create an effective team.”

RCMP said the total policing costs have not yet been determined but are expected to far exceed the original estimates due to the need for additional resources above and beyond the initial operational plan.

In Nelson, Nelson Police officers have started foot patrols through the downtown core of the Heritage City to deal with increased numbers of people expected to attend Shambhala.

The Shambhala Music Festival runs from August 8-11.

Categories: Crime

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