Rockin River may move to site across highway

This year’s Rockin River Music Festival could be moving to the north side of Lougheed Highway, just west of Nelson Street, due to the pending sale of the current property where attendees camped.

Last week organizers sought support from the district to send the proposal to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), as the proposed 33 hectare site, at 31042 Silverdale Ave., falls under its jurisdiction.

“We’re being proactive,” said Kenny Hess, spokesperson for the Rockin River Music group, who would like to keep the camping and the festival on the same site.

Hess also noted his organization has offered to re-seed and repair any damage done to the property, and has been studying ways to minimize impact to the site.

Coun. Mike Scudder, having just received the information the same day, asked for more time to talk to residents and do research, but council didn’t agree.

Coun. Terry Gidda pointed out there is a short time frame in which to work.

“We should just support it,” he said after Barclay Pitkethly, deputy director of planning for the district, told council the ALC could take up to four months to make a decision because the group doesn’t meet often.

Council had questions about traffic, watercourse protection and how the event would affect the farm land.

Pitkethly also noted the ALC will look at the agricultural impact the event may have, and council concerns could be addressed through a temporary commercial use permit.

“If we put it before the ALC and they say yes, but we say no, it won’t go through,” said Coun. Paul Horn. “We should support it to move it forward and deal with public input.”

Scudder said he was concerned about the time pressure and the event will impact more than just the farm.

“There are residents,” he said “Sound travels up the hill and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Public input would be “a joke” after the ALC allows the festival to go ahead, said Scudder, whose deferral was defeated 6-1, and the application was moved forward.

This year’s festival is scheduled to take place Aug. 11-13.