Sturgis North gets city noise restrictions altered

The Agricultural Land Commission has refused an application to allow the Sturgis North biker event to operate on farmland in west Salmon Arm. - file photo
The Agricultural Land Commission has refused an application to allow the Sturgis North biker event to operate on farmland in west Salmon Arm.
— image credit: file photo

Organizers of the Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally came under fire from city council Monday over a request for noise bylaw extensions on the Salmon Arm Fall Fairgrounds.

Couns. Ken Jamieson and Alan Harrison did not hesitate to state their feelings and concerns about Sturgis North, and the request put forward by organizer Steve Hammer at Monday’s council meeting for noise bylaw extensions on the fairgrounds.

“In my mind, it’s quite obvious that they’ve just jumped the gun and planned an event without a venue to hold it at,” commented Harrison. “And now they’re in a pickle. And now they’re coming to council, and council feels pressured because, what’s going to happen? So I don’t appreciate being put into that position.”

Hammer’s request to council was to extend the noise bylaw from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13, to 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 14-16, and to 11 p.m. on Sunday, July 17.

“We still are hopeful we will not need to use the bylaw extensions; our goal is still to have the fairgrounds closed down by 8:30, nine o’ clock each evening,” said Hammer. “But we do not, at this time have the other property… so I’m not at liberty to really talk about that.”

An amendment to the request was later agreed upon by council, leaving the times for Wednesday and Thursday as is, and granting extensions for Friday and Saturday to 11:30, and on Sunday to 10:30. Part of the logic behind this decision, provided by Coun. Chad Eliason, was that motorcycles leaving the fairgrounds would continue to be noisy for another halfhour past closing.

Harrison and Jamieson, however, stood opposed to any bylaw extension for Sturgis.

“I hesitate to support the request, Steve, because I don’t want a backup plan to become the number-one plan, and I’m afraid that’s what might happen,” said Jamieson. “And if we approve bylaw extensions, I’m just wondering where the motivation is to go out and find another property?”

Jamieson was critical of how the event has been organized, and suggested it be delayed until next year.

“It looks like it could be fun, it looks like it could be safe, it looks like it could be well-organized and well- run, but at this point, I don’t think it is very well-organized, and I think you’re kind of going on the fly here, and you’re asking for things at a time when I think they should already be in place,” said Jamieson.

Harrison dismissed comparisons between Sturgis and Roots and Blues, noting the latter has a long history and is well-established and well-run.

Hammer said about 10,000 tickets have already been sold, representing up to 2,000 people. Coun. Debbie Cannon asked Hammer where Sturgis North would be if its “second Plan B” doesn’t pan out, to which he replied, “downtown Salmon Arm.”

“We’re not going to go against the city and carry on an event past the noise bylaw,” said Hammer. “We’ll close the event down and people will move out of the event grounds into the local establishments around Salmon Arm and to the campgrounds that they’re in. That’s the reality of it.”

Earlier this month, Hammer told council that Sturgis would be seeking noise bylaw extensions for the fairgrounds after the Agricultural Land Commission turned down an application for use by the festival of the Moore property at 10th Avenue SW.


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