After originally stating that their would be no liquor at the CannaFest 2015 music event on Aug. 7/8, organizer Chuck Varabioff has asked council for approval of a special occasion liquor.
In addition to the request for a liquor licence, Varabioff also asked council for an extension of time from the original end time of 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on both nights at Monday’s regular council meeting.
Despite objections from Councillor Julia Butler, council passed the motion 6-1 in favour of issuing the licence allowing the sale of liquor from 5 – 10 p.m. at CannaFest. Council made a separate second motion to have staff look into the request for the later end time for the event. The second motion was carried unanimously.
“It’s kind of interesting, in their submission to council on Feb. 24, (Varabioff said) ‘we are capping the ticket sales at 3,000 and we will not tolerate liquor,’” said Butler during discussion of the motions. “I think this might be an interesting soapbox from the medicinal marijuana point of view that we don’t tolerate medicinal marijuana but we’ll tolerate liquor (even though) everyone knows that liquor is more harmful than medicinal marijuana. I can see Facebook lighting up now.”
Butler also noted that the time extension would not be welcomed being that the concert is being held in a “highly residential neighbourhood” at James Donaldson Park.
“I’m sure the residents of this neighbourhood would not approve of their houses shaking until 12:30 p.m.,” said Butler.
Coun. Colleen Ross countered by stating that the concert will bring an element of fun to Grand Forks.
“I was a bit surprised when they said they weren’t going to have liquor at a rock concert,” said Ross. “I think it’s just a matter of course. Lots of us have been to rock concerts where stuff is done. It’s a summer-time rock concert in Grand Forks, I think we should just—without saying let’s not be ‘old farts’—let’s use our town, let’s use our facility, let’s have something fun for a change. Let’s take some chances; the cops are going to be around. There will be security. Yeah, people are going to drink too much but let’s be like other towns that have concerts in the summer.”
Mayor Frank Konrad added that he hopes that the event organizer doesn’t come to council down the road with any further requests for changes or additions.