Stomp location in limbo

Biker rally: Silver Creek event awaits decision from land commission.

A biker takes his turn in the skills competition at the Salmon Arm Stomp.

A biker takes his turn in the skills competition at the Salmon Arm Stomp.

Plans for the Salmon Arm Summer Stomp, the original biker event in Silver Creek, rest with the Agricultural Land Commission, which must decide whether to allow the event to run on four Silver Creek properties located in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The commission recently denied an application for a similar event put forward by Sturgis North, which would see a motorcycle and music festival, along with on-site camping, to take place on the Moore Farm in west Salmon Arm.

The Stomp, which is run by the non-profit Salmon Arm Summer Stomp Society, is an event separate from the planned Sturgis North event. Stomp president Mike Smith says their group is supportive of Sturgis North, which is a for-profit enterprise being run by a group of investors primarily from the Lower Mainland.

“We are our own entity, but we are co-ordinating our events with Sturgis North because we have the same goal, to bring lots of motorcycles to town,” says Smith.

Sturgis North is set to run July 13-17, while the Stomp in Silver Creek intends to run July 13-16. In previous years, the Stomp has been a weekend event.

The Salmon Arm Summer Stomp has, for the past 22 years, used the Silver Creek Community Park grounds for the weekend event, which features motorcycle events, bands and an all-night party.

Following last year’s event, however, Smith says the Columbia Shuswap Regional District informed the group it would not allow the event to take place at the park, as it is too small for an event of that size.

“I’m not throwing stones at the CSRD, we have outgrown the park, that’s why we are looking at other sites,” says Smith.

Now the Stomp is making application with the CSRD and the Agricultural Land Commission to host the event on four rural properties across from the Silver Creek Store.  There are two properties owned by Murray Jackson at 885 and 919 Salmon River Rd., which would be used for parking.  There are another two parcels of land also adjacent to Salmon River Road which are owned by a corporation listing Loretta Wyness as the director. The Wyness property is the proposed site of the Stomp events.

Smith says their application for a non-farm use on the property differs from Sturgis North’s application in that these two properties have not been used for any farming purpose for a number of years.

“I think there was one cow on one of the properties last year, and you can’t make a living on a farm with one cow.”

Without those approvals, however, the Stomp could end up being an event without a location.

Smith says their application is scheduled to go before the CSRD board, which will decide whether to endorse or oppose the Stomp’s application with the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) on April 21.

Following this, the  ALC will review the application and Smith says a decision is expected in mid-May. The Stomp would also need the support of the CSRD board to obtain a liquor licence for the event.

“We are a bit nervous, we have a bunch of bureaucrats holding our event in their hands and you never know what they will do,” says Smith. “I think it would be a real shame to shut down an event that has run for 22 years in this community without any major problems just because of a prejudice against motorcycle riders.”

René Talbot, Silver Creek area director with the CSRD, says he can’t give an opinion on the application because he has not seen the Stomp’s plans in writing yet.

“There’s a lot of speculation, but not really anything on paper that I’ve seen,” he says. “But if it does go ahead, there will be a lot of issues to take care of, washrooms, water, security, all of these things will have to be looked at.”

When asked what the Stomp’s plans would be if the application is rejected, Smith said the society has been looking at other options but he was not ready to discuss them publicly.

“All I can say is we don’t quit easy,” he says.

“People have been trying to shut us down ever since we started simply because of the idea of bikers that is shown in the media – the Outlaw Bikers, Sons of Anarchy, those are just shows on TV and it is an untrue, unfounded perception. It is not the way it is.”