Happy campers are expected to flood to the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival earlier than normal this August, giving them more time to enjoy and, with any luck, spend money on local amenities.
Every year the festival uses fields along 10th Avenue SW near the fairgrounds for festivalgoer camping, thanks to temporary use permits which allow the use of land in the Agricultural Land Reserve to be used for non-agricultural uses.
For this year’s 27th annual festival, scheduled Aug. 15 to 18, executive director David Gonella came to city council to ask that the four days of camping normally offered be extended to seven. As well, the festival society wished to expand the camping area on Lot 1 (1300 10th St. SW) considerably.
City staff checked with the Agricultural Land Commission, which had no concerns about the plans.
Gonella explained that in the past, 175 campers were housed on the three existing sites. With the expansion – considered a fourth site, a maximum of 125 campers would be permitted on each of the four areas, bringing the total to a maximum of 600.
“It will allow bigger trailers to come on earlier and faster. We think it will reduce traffic in the area,” he said, noting the plan would lessen the number of people who arrive in town on Friday.
“We believe 10 to 20 per cent would come earlier in the week.”
Mayor Alan Harrison noted that the RCMP responded to the plan by saying the risk of requiring additional policing is moderate to low. Harrison also said increasing the days could provide additional economic benefit to the community.
Council voted unanimously in favour of amending the temporary use permit.