Regional District of Central Kootenay officials say they’re investigating to see if two recent raves held in the Slocan Valley violated the local government’s noise bylaw.
“Two recent events resulted in the RDCK receiving a significant number of complaints from Electoral Area H residents reporting egregious violations of the Noise Control Bylaw,” says Jordan Dupuis, the RDCK’s bylaw enforcement supervisor. “In this circumstance, the RDCK is currently investigating complaints that were generated as a result of two recent ‘electronic music’ events.”
The High Frequency Gathering took place the July 29 to 30 weekend in Vallican, south of Winlaw. Tickets for the event cost up to $75, and the event was sold out.
The second event – a three-day festival called the Labour of Love – occurred at the start of July.
Dupuis said he went out to the site of the Labour of Love that weekend, and loud amplified music could be heard several kilometres from Vallican, where the event was held. The music went far into the next morning, raising the ire of some locals.
“The rave last night was the worst I have experienced,” wrote one person on a local Facebook community page after the event. “The noise decibels measured 85 on nearby porches. The pounding beat kept many of us awake all night, with our windows vibrating, and the incessant thump a sickening assault.”
However, the event organizers seem to have many online supporters, as well.
“These events are an important and long-standing part of the Slocan Valley and trying to sabotage them hurts the valley culture and vibrance,” wrote a rave enthusiast on Facebook. “There is a way to work together so we can have both. … You just gotta be open to communicating in person and peacefully instead of cowardly attacks online.”
Stepping up enforcement
Dupuis says the RDCK uses a “graduated response” to enforcing bylaw regulations. Officers will first reach out to seek voluntary compliance from offenders. If that doesn’t work, they’ll issue what’s called a bylaw offence notice – which can usually include fines of around $200.
That’s what happened after last year’s raves, but Dupuis admits that really amounts to a cost of doing business for an event of that size.
The next stage of enforcement is called the long-form prosecution, when more formal bylaw charges are laid with the help of RCMP. In that case, the offender will have to go before a judge and have their case heard. Fines are correspondingly higher, up to $1,500, plus legal costs, and ignoring the ruling could have the offender facing criminal charges for contempt of court.
Dupuis says the RDCK’s bylaw department is still investigating the two recent raves and anyone wishing to submit a statement is welcome to contact them to indicate how they were impacted by the event.
A decision on whether to move up to the next level of enforcement will be made at an upcoming meeting of the RDCK’s Rural Affairs Committee.