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Concert by-law hikes security requirements

Town council is considering a by-law that will require more security at events such as South Country Fair and the Canadian Country Weekend.
Council gave first reading Feb. 14 to By-law 1739 which reflects changes in provincial regulations.
“This is a challenge,” Mayor Shawn Patience said. “This is a tough one. This is something the province has added without consulting anyone.”
Council and administration will consult with organizers of large events prior to bringing the by-law to a public hearing
“We’ve got to take a hard look at this and try and find the least invasive way to employ this,” Patience said.
The need to revise the by-law came about as a group looked at hosting a new event in town.
“This by-law proposal stems from contact the town had from an organization that wants to promote a new concert — a music festival of some kind,” Town of Fort Macleod municipal manager Barry Elliott said.
The Canadian Country Weekend is to be held Aug. 12-13 at Fort Macleod Fish and Game Park.
The event is being organized by former Fort Macleod resident Broc Higginson and associates, who believe there is a market for a country music festival in southern Alberta.
Higginson estimates the event will attract 7,000 country music fans
“Through the course of the conversations that were held it became apparent the current concert by-law is well out of date and didn’t meet the requirements of the particular (provincial) act,” Elliott said.
The Town of Fort Macleod’s by-law governing such events was adopted in 1981.
Town of Fort Macleod community peace officer Werner Dressler, economic development officer Martin Ebel and RCMP Sgt. Brent Hawker met to revise the by-law.
The most drastic changes were made in the areas of security, enhanced policing, traffic control and special event licensing.
“All these sections have been carefully reviewed to ensure they are current and best reflect the Town of Fort Macleod and the town’s interests,” Dressler wrote in a report to council. “With legal issues and lawsuits it is in the best interest of the town and the ratepayers to reflect these changes and prevent civil litigation.”
By-law 1739 requires anyone hosting an event to provide at least one security officer for every 400 participants.
The security officers are required by provincial legislation to have completed a 40-hour training course.
The event organizer also has to consult the RCMP detachment commander to determine if an enhanced policing agreement is needed.
The by-law states one uniformed RCMP member or community peace officer is required for every 1,000 people in attendance. The RCMP requires its members to work in pairs.
A concert that attracts more than 5,000 people requires an additional RCMP duty officer on site at all times.
The town can also require the event organizer to have flag people in place to direct traffic.
The by-law requires minimum of 68 litres of water per person for drinking and sanitation.
“Clearly we need to have some dialogue with the organizers of other events,” Elliott said. “There is no question this is going to have an effect.”

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