Summer Stomp a debatable fit of Sicamous

Writer argues more public/business input needed on benefits of annual motorcycle event.

The following is an abridged version of a letter submitted to Sicamous council.

Dear Mayor Terry Rysz and council,

My concern relates to the current Stomp event which I have difficulty seeing the fit with the community’s great image. I don’tdispute the biker community and its unique culture fully deserves to be celebrated. The question is how do we maintaincontrol of the image being portrayed of our town and how do we insure that the current ‘biker party’ image is not the maindraw to this event?

I think that as a community, we have to seriously consider what changes could be made to make sure this event doesn’tcontinue to grow increasingly unsafe, tainting our otherwise strong community theme as a safe, healthy, senior, family,business, environmentally and fun-loving ‘friendly’ community.

Through business surveys and letters last year, residents and more than 50 per cent of businesses were not in favour of thisevent.

Verifiable incidents, though few, are highly concerning.

Incidents of verbal or physical intimidation/assault and theft in the past three years either on Stomp grounds or at local retailstores, motels or restaurants have been noted.

Any such incidences are unacceptable.

District council should be concerned and asking why people/ businesses are not officially reporting these incidents.

Clearly, I am not describing your average attending motorcycle enthusiast.

I believe our branding consultants would confirm that ‘perception’ is everything, and leaves this town with every visitor toeither promote or demote Sicamous as first, a place to visit and second, a place to live.

My question to council is can we afford to not look more carefully at this event?

I remember the branding consultant company’s successful pitch for their contract by the statement that ‘community branding’is about creating a consistent, positive perception of your community. I wonder what they would say about how the SummerStomp fits?

We need more open-minded consultation on the pros and cons of this event.

I was quite shocked at the attitude expressed by organizers at the first report in August, and again with the lack of reprimandby district council in response to the criticism of our RCMP’s decision making around enforcement needs for this event.

Who are any of us to call the RCMP’s judgement into question in regards to safety of our people?

Thank you for consideration of my perspective as an individual who clearly does not always agree with everything you do orsay, but someone who respects and appreciates your honest intent, hard work and commitment to making Sicamous a betterplace to live.

I believe you already know that not only do I think this is the best place in the world to live, I am committed to working withothers to keep it that way!

Pam Beech

 

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