by EVAN MATTHEWS
Now with Council’s support, the Valemount Beer Fest is setting its sights on a successful takeoff.
Council voted in favour of granting Michael Lewis, co-owner of Three Ranges Brewery, preliminary approval for the beer and music festival to be held at the Valemount Airport on June 17, 2017.
Council also voted a final decision will be made no less than two months prior to the festival and conditional on a few things, including proof of insurance, and satisfying the needs of organizations such as Northern Health, the RCMP, B.C. Ambulance, the Fire Department and Public Works.
Lewis will also need written confirmation from the owners of any private hangers being used for the festival, according to Council, as well as a liquor license and cleanup deposit.
“Our administrator did go with the Public Works superintendent and discussed this,” said Mayor Townsend at the Jan. 24 Council meeting.
“If (Public Works) has to go clean up following the event it will take about one day, so that is (why) the suggested amount is $500. The deposit will be returned if it’s cleaned up,” she said, also noting the deposit must be placed no later than 14 days prior to the event.
But festival owners won’t be on the financial hook for everything, as Council approved the Village of Valemount to act as a sponsor of the event by donating the airport site free of charge.
However, Mayor Townsend initially made the suggestion of a “nominal fee of $100”, as she said the fee would be “precedent setting”, and that there would be some people in the Village opposed to allowing the site to be used free of charge.
“The primary focus for any revenue raised this year is for Veterans. It’s a society out of Quesnel focused on re-introducing Veterans to their communities once they leave the military, especially Veterans who have been out (of the military) for quite a while and just kind of hold up at home. The program helps with PTSD,” – Michael Lewis, Three Ranges Brewing Co.
Councillor Peter Reimer opposed Townsend on the idea, saying the festival will provide significant economic benefit to the community’s hospitality industry, as well as gas stations, and for those reasons the fee should be waived.
“I only suggest it because Council is setting a precedent,” said Townsend. “Somebody will come forward next time and say, ‘we have a bona fide proposal as well’, and it is a very nominal fee.”
Councillor Sandy Salt made note of the fact that the festival is raising money for a designated charity, so Council called on Mike Lewis one more time to clarify.
“The primary focus for any revenue raised this year is for Veterans,” said Lewis.
“It’s a society out of Quesnel focused on re-introducing Veterans to their communities once they leave the military, especially Veterans who have been out (of the military) for quite a while and just kind of hold up at home.
“There is a program that helps with PTSD,” he said. He also made note that a portion of the revenue would come back to Valemount directly, going to the Valemount Arts and Culture Society, as well as the Legion.
The only revenue the organization will be keeping, according to Lewis, is enough seed money for next year’s festival.
Ultimately the Village Council opted to act as a sponsor, and provide free use of the airport.