By Sally MacDonald
Cranbrook Daily Townsman staff
Koocanusa has been “discovered” by the next generation of Calgarians, and regional district directors don’t like the kinds of events these young people are bringing to the reservoir.
“Clearly the Koocanusa area has been well discovered. We had a very large concert held at Big Springs last month that attracted about 1,200 people from outside the area. They discovered it and they thought they’d found nirvana,” described Heath Slee, the director for Area B, which wraps around Koocanusa.
Slee explained that since that concert, other less organized events, which he called raves, have been held at Koocanusa, upsetting family campers who have long travelled to Koocanusa “for the peace and quiet and solitude that the area has to offer”.
“We’re busy on the one hand promoting the heck out of tourism and inviting people to come into our province. But we’re realizing very little benefit from this influx of people,” said Slee.
“My observations of the sounds and sights and smells that were emanating from there, it was not the types of people we want to encourage to come into our communities.”
Director Dean McKerracher, mayor of Elkford, said that one of the concerts had eight-foot speakers set up on the beach. The noise led year-round campers to pack up and leave, and others to ask campsite operators for their money back.
“We need to control it somehow before it gets out of control,” said McKerracher.
Director Gerry Taft, mayor of Invermere, suggested that if the board doesn’t want these events at Koocanusa, they should think about an alternative location for them.
“It’s quite clear that Koocanusa is not an acceptable location for this sort of music event, but realistically, they are not going to go away. So it might be something that, whether we like it or not, we might have to try to figure out places where it might be more acceptable or less damaging,” he said.
The board voted to send a letter asking for better policing and other controls to the RCMP, Interior Health, the MLA and MP.