Town sets new standards for private park-based parties

Brides and grooms and others wanting to party in Osoyoos now have a little more work to do if they want to use Town facilities as part of their celebrations.

Osoyoos Council approved updates to its Special Event Application policy Monday afternoon that makes for additional paperwork for private users and park use fees for weddings, private and commercial events at all Town parks.

Council also adopted changes to its Administrative Fees and Charges and Recreation Fees and Charges bylaws that include a new application fee and an extra washroom cleaning fee.

The new charges won’t apply to non-profit groups and organizations.

The community, program supervisor Sarah Dynneson told Council “has always allowed individuals and groups to use park space without charge,” although it has charged associated fees for equipment, such as the use of bleachers, tables and chairs.

“The current Special Event Policy does not differentiate between private or public events and therefore private events, such as weddings, have been using park space for multiple day events,” Ms. Dynneson said, adding large events “tend to use equipment that has the potential to damage park areas.”

“Other communities charge for the use of their green space and (require) a damage deposit,” she noted. “It would be prudent for the Town of Osoyoos to begin charging similar fees for the use of park space and required staff time.”

 

The approved Special Event Policy was updated to:

  • require completion of a Special Event Application Package before any special event that has more than 50 people attending be held on public property;
  • limit private use of “prime park space” to four hours unless approved by the Town;
  • include fees as set out in the Town’s fees and charges bylaws, including a $25 application fee and a washroom cleaning fee of $44.50 and park-use fees for weddings, private and commercial events;
  • provide for those fees to be waived for non-profit groups;
  • include new guidelines regarding weddings along the waterfront in front of the Watermark Beach Resort; and,
  • allow fees for non-profit groups to be waived.

The new policy also restricts multi-day use of public space for private events.

At Council suggestion, the Town’s management team will provide information about changes made to the special events process on the Town website and in print materials it routinely distributes.

“You know what happens when Bylaw shows up and says you can’t be here,” Counc. CJ Rhodes said of a potential missed permit. “The Hatfields and McCoys start.”

Ms. Dynneson told Council about 90 percent of users wanting access to Town parks make contact with her department before holding an event. She’s also planning to meet with local wedding planners and others routinely involved in event planning and production.

“That’s good,” said Counc. Rhodes. “At least we’re attempting to educate potential users.”

 

 

Have your say . . .