Big Time Out Festival heading to Royston from Cumberland

For the second time in as many weeks Cumberland council has voted against holding The Big Time Out at Village Park.

In a 2-2 vote at a special Tuesday meeting to reconsider a revised application from Cumberland Village Works, council defeated a motion by Coun. Kate Greening to proceed with the Aug. 12 and 13 music festival at its usual location near the downtown core.

Louisa McLellan keeps an eye on the turkeys at Ash Berry Farm in Royston

Louisa McLellan keeps an eye on the turkeys at Ash Berry Farm in Royston

For the second time in as many weeks Cumberland council has voted against holding The Big Time Out at Village Park.

In a 2-2 vote at a special Tuesday meeting to reconsider a revised application from Cumberland Village Works, council defeated a motion by Coun. Kate Greening to proceed with the Aug. 12 and 13 music festival at its usual location near the downtown core.

Last week at an in-camera meeting, council unanimously denied the application to hold the event in the village, siding with a recommendation from the RCMP, who are concerned about security. Mayor Fred Bates, who did not attend Tuesday’s session, had also said BTO organizers failed to submit security and other application details on time.

In a revised application, festival artistic director vig Schulman proposed to remove the beer garden from the event. He also proposed to hire supplemental contract security — which would increase the number of people in a security capacity to more than 130 — and to name Bates and the four councillors in the insurance policy, in addition to the Village itself.

“Please bring The Big Time Out back to Cumberland where it belongs,” an emotional Schulman said to a round of applause from about 50 supporters who attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Schulman admits, “We did not conform to the timelines that were set out for this year.” Without a beer garden, police acknowledge they “no longer have a say as far as approving the event,” he added.

He also noted 600-plus e-mails had appealed to council to reconsider its original decision.

Greening’s motion was subject to the amended security plan. She also requested festival organizers to debrief the community at an October meeting.

Coun. Gwyn Sproule, despite seconding the motion, was not impressed with the barrage of e-mails and misinformation that pointed fingers at council when the blame, she said, should be placed on organizers for missed deadlines.

“Council has the potential to be held liable for gross negligence in the eyes of the law, both as a corporate body and as individuals, if it allows The Big Time Out to proceed without RCMP support,” she said.

Sproule questioned if the Village and council could be liable if something happened, even at an alcohol-free event.

Acting chief administrative officer Dave Durrant, noting indemnification of councillors under the Local Government Act, said the Village can be held liable when thousands of people attend a community event, even if police are not required to sign off.

“It has to do with risk appetite,” he said. “That is a very precarious position for any municipal council.”

Couns. Leslie Baird and Bronco Moncrief, who chaired the meeting, did not support Greening’s motion.

“This has been going on since last year,” said Moncrief, who suggested the throng of support was an attempt to intimidate council into reversing its earlier decision. “Here we are at the ninth minute. I do not support this. Hopefully next year you’ll get your act together sooner.”

Baird is not prepared to put herself in a position to lose her home, nor to risk a lawsuit against the Village.

“It would be negligent on my part,” she said, acknowledging the difficulty of making a decision to not support the festival.

Greening said it is important to look at the whole picture and suggests a bit of “give and take” is needed when making hard decisions.

The festival is scheduled to proceed at an alternate venue at Ash Berry Farm in Royston.

Schulman, addressing a crowd outside after the meeting, said he has faced the same timelines every year and that Cumberland Village Works did its due diligence but did not receive the same flexibility demonstrated by council and police at previous events.

The recent murder near the entrance to Vanier Secondary in Courtenay in which a 16-year-old boy is accused of fatally stabbing 19-year-old James Denton following a music festival at the Exhibition Grounds figured in police’s decision to not endorse the Big Time Out. In a letter to council, Comox Valley RCMP Insp. Tom Gray said the fallout from the murder “is one of highly-charged anger and raw, unresolved feelings towards various segments of the community.”

Ash Berry Farm falls within the jurisdiction of the regional district, which does not require a special permit if fewer than 1,000 people attend the event, as organizers have indicated. If attendance exceeds 1,000 — including fans, entertainers, crew, staff, vendors and security — the district would investigate because the overflow would contravene a bylaw. Noise complaints during or after the festival are also subject to investigation.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 exposure at sixth Comox Valley school in past eight days

Island Health has posted an exposure alert at a sixth Comox Valley… Continue reading

Artist Sandra Meigs will be the next speaker in NIC’s online 2021 Artist Talk series, appearing virtually on Friday, March 5 at 1 pm. For the full schedule and link to attend the Artist Talk Online Series, visit (Photo: The Glass Ticker (2017) — 15’ X 9’ X 5’, wood, enamel, lights, aluminum, glass, automata. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.)
Celebrated artist and mentor joins North Island College Artist Talk series

North Island College’s virtual 2021 Artist Talk series welcomes Sandra Meigs, past… Continue reading

The Coast Range makes a spectacular backdrop for orca heading towards Discovery Passage of Campbell River Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Frank Neil
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from Comox ferry staff

After Dasher made a dash, ferry staff found her and got her home safe

A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design
Denman Green finds new site for housing

Facing COVID delays, the project reached expiration date on initial site

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Photo: Lt. Sandy Pridmore, MARS Darlene Banerd, MARS, Warren Warttig and Captain Rob Stevens show the new automatic external defibrillator (AED) that will be located at the MARS facilities located at 1331 William Beach Road, Black Creek. Photo supplied
Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society adds AED to Williams Beach Road location

Submitted Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) has collaborated with the Comox Firefighters… Continue reading

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Most Read