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Port Moody will keep an eye on beer and music festival in park

Parks and recreation commission questions whether Pioneer Memorial Park is an appropriate venue.
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Members of Port Moody's parks and recreation commission have expressed concerns about the impact a beer and music festival in Pioneer Memorial Park might have on its healing garden and meditation space.

The City of Port Moody is working with the organizers of an outdoor beer and music festival planned for Pioneer Memorial Park to ensure the event respects the sanctity of its reflective spaces and the integrity of its trees.

The Brewhalla Beer and Music Festival is scheduled to be held at the park Aug. 5 and 6. Organized by Langley-based Red Door Events Inc., the festival will feature more than 60 craft brewers, food trucks and a stage for live music.

But shortly after the event was announced in early April, members of the city’s parks and recreation commission questioned the appropriateness of the venue.

It includes an area of benches and a healing garden that is often used by visitors with family or friends at the nearby Crossroads Hospice to reflect and find comfort.

Last year, a “phone of the wind” was also installed to give people an opportunity to have “conversations” with loved ones who’ve passed on.

As well, the commission worried about the festival’s impact on the park’s tree canopy, and it suggested the vacant property at the corner of Ioco Road and Murray Street where the old firehall was located might be more suitable — or even the gravel all-weather field at Inlet Park.

Anna Mathewson, Port Moody’s manager of community services, told the Tri-City News discussions with the organizers are ongoing “to ensure the event is well organized and successful.”

She said the city has also talked with the Crossroads Hospice Society and will facilitate discussions between it and Red Door Events, so any concerns can be addressed.

Mathewson said alcohol will not be served in the park’s labyrinth healing garden area.

Red Door’s event manager, Hannah Brown, said the company has received Crossroads’ support for the festival, and the hospice society could even have a booth on site to help raise funds for its hospice work.

Brown said Red Door worked closely with Port Moody staff to determine the best venue for its festival. She said Pioneer Memorial Park, located just across Knowle Street from the recreation centre, is close to SkyTrain, offers ample parking right nearby and wouldn’t be a disruption to neighbours.

Brown said the festival area, which also includes a portion of Knowle Street and the rec centre’s parking lot, as well as the grass median between the two, will be fenced. Access to the rec centre will be maintained.

Inside  the venue will be 26 vendor tents, a small stage, as well as port-a-potties and hand washing stations. Brown said set up will begin Thursday, Aug. 4, and 1,100 tickets will be available for each day of the event, which goes from 4 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 5 and noon to 5 p.m. on Aug. 6. Tear down occurs on Aug. 7.

Mathewson said limited electrical capacity at Pioneer Park means the organizers will likely have to bring in generators for additional power.

She said the city is charging Red Door a rental fee of one dollar for every ticket, with the total amount of revenue it realizes based on the event’s success.

And if Brewhalla is a hit, Pioneer Memorial Park could see more events in the future.

Mathewson said it’s “a great public space and we do hope to see more community events being hosted there as an alternate to Rocky Point Park” that already hosts a busy schedule of summertime happenings like Golden Spike Days, Canada Day and Ribfest.

She said staff will be watching Brewhalla closely.

“We will diligently monitor and evaluate any potential impact on all parts of the park.”