Motorcycle fest wants to move to school site | Squamish Chief

Motorcycle fest wants to move to school site

Howe Sound Secondary site requires board exemption

The Squamish Motorcycle Fest is hoping to roll on down the road to a new location this summer.

After holding their first two annual events downtown, the organizers want to use space on Howe Sound Secondary property for this year’s festival, scheduled for July 2 and 3.

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Festival executive director Suzanne Jolly appeared before the Sea to Sky board of education at their regular February meeting to ask for permission to use the location.

With plans to expand, festival organizers are looking for an alternative site nearby.

“We don’t want to impact the businesses downtown or the farmers’ market,” Jolly told the board.

The organization is now requesting to use the parking lot at the secondary school and some of the field.

The festival has operated the last two summers and is described as a family-friendly outing. Plans for this year include a motocross ramp and airbag, an expanded show-and-shine and various clinics, though the lineup is tentative depending on sponsorship and location. 

It also includes a beer garden, which is the issue at hand for the school trustees because of the district policy concerning the consumption of alcohol on district property. 

The Sea to Sky District policy outlines the schools where alcohol can be served and under what conditions. While Howe Sound Secondary is included among the schools where alcohol can be served at certain events, this can take place only in the multi-purpose room, not anywhere else in the school or on the grounds. 

As well, the policy mentions that alcohol is not to be served at family-oriented events.

Jolly said her organization understands the district policy but hopes they can come to a compromise with the district.

“We are willing to be completely flexible.”

While the organization raises funds from sources such as T-shirt sales, the beer garden provides much of the revenue. In turn, the event generates funds for community organizations and projects. Last year, the organization donated roughly $1,700 to help Howe Sound Secondary with the machine shop, though Jolly said the organization was not planning a move at that time.

In the first year, the festival raised almost $1,000 for the local food bank.

After board chair Rick Price asked about security and safety measures for the event, Jolly responded that they are planning to fence off the beer garden and locate it towards the back of the site. As well, the main push is to direct the traffic on site towards festival vendors.

“We really do have a female-and family-friendly festival,” she said.

They will retain security and are also asking the police to appear as part of the festival.
“Right now, we’re in negotiations for the motorbiker RCMPs to come and join us,” she said, adding how popular the motorcycle police are with children that attend.

Price explained that the board does not make decisions at the same meeting as presentations and will consider the request, though Jolly asked if there was any way the board could respond prior to the regular March meeting.

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