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Bylaw adopted to regulate Slocan Valley raves

If you want to host a rave or other large event in the Slocan Valley, you will now have to apply for a permit.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has adopted a new bylaw that requires organizers of events with more than 200 attendees to seek permission first.

“The intent is to have an organized event, so everyone is aware is happening and we have preparations that it’s done safely,” says regional director Walter Popoff.

“If someone’s planning a fairly big event in the Slocan Valley, and they do happen every once in a while, it would provide our fire department [an opportunity] to go and look at where it’s happening to ensure that in the event of a fire there is an avenue for evacuation.”

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Popoff says another key concern is noise, something he has received many complaints about. He pointed to an event near Rosebery Provincial Park that bothered campers and resulted in the attendant calling him. The Slocan Valley was added to the RDCK’s noise control bylaw in April 2021.

He says the new bylaw will allow bylaw enforcement officers or RCMP to enter private property to talk to organizers. Those who host events without applying for permission or fail to comply with the terms of the permit could receive tickets of up to $1,000.

The bylaw has been in the works since 2017 after the Shambhala Music Festival was threatened with evacuation due to a nearby wildfire. However, the festival built an alternate access route, making the issue of regulation less pressing.

Although the bylaw was originally supposed to cover all rural areas of the regional district, only Popoff chose to push forward. The matter was further delayed because most large events were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

The board contemplated a similar bylaw in 2011 before deciding it could not be implemented easily or enforced effectively.

Popoff says the bylaw’s adoption is not in response to any specific event and RDCK staff say they aren’t aware of any upcoming events this year that will be affected.

Popoff says he is particularly concerned about the risk of a wildfire starting at one of the events.

The permit approval process will be handled through the RDCK’s fire services.

The staff reported noted that some “relatively small and nuisance-free events” may exceed 200 attendees in the bylaw, requiring an event permit. But the chief administrator has the authority to waive permit requirements.

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