Boonstock wades into election
Ad blasts Sturgeon County candidates Shaw and Flynn
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 06:00 am
The man behind Boonstock has waded into the Sturgeon County election with an ad that blasts mayoral candidate Tom Flynn and council candidate Karen Shaw.
Colin Kobza, the president of Boonstock Productions, placed an ad in Wednesday’s issue of the St. Albert Gazette that criticizes the actions of Flynn and Shaw towards the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival.
Councillors Flynn and Shaw took part in a 6-0 vote on Sept. 24 to no longer issue permits for Boonstock at its current site near Gibbons. They also voted in favour of a 4-2 motion on Sept. 10 to deny permits for large special events involving over 2,000 people until the county’s assemblage control bylaw was updated.
In the ad, Kobza said council did not give him a fair hearing and may have violated the Municipal Government Act.
“Councillor Tom Flynn and Councillor Karen Shaw personally attacked me,” Kobza says in the ad, adding that Shaw was “adamant” that he take out a loan to cover the cost of the event’s policing agreement.
“All the good work and reputation that we have built up over the years appears to be compromised,” the ad states.
“It is not my position to tell you how to vote or which candidate to choose,” Kobza said. “What I do suggest is you do your homework.”
In an interview, Kobza said that he was “absolutely not” endorsing anyone in this election. “My ad is not political. My ad is simply stating the facts.”
Kobza said his group did have a proper traffic plan in place, and said that his event would not have had traffic problems had it not been for a three-hour cellphone outage in the area.
“Is that my fault?”
Flynn and Shaw respond
Flynn and Shaw stood by their decisions and said Kobza’s ad was politically motivated.
“There’s nothing in the MGA that forces us to support (Kobza’s) function in any way,” Flynn said, adding that his motion banned Boonstock from a specific site, not from the whole county.
“There’s no infraction of the MGA at all.”
While the cell-tower outage was a factor this year, Flynn said Boonstock had similar traffic problems in previous years without outages.
“There’s plenty of evidence that we made the right decision.”
Shaw said her decision was made based on information from multiple external agencies, and was supported by everyone on council.
“Why doesn’t he call out the rest (of council)?” she said.
As for the loan allegation, Shaw said that the county had to front the $125,000 cost of the supplementary policing agreement for the event with the expectation that Boonstock would repay them afterwards.
She asked Kobza how he planned to cover this cost, and noted that banks offered loans and second mortgages.
“However he finances it isn’t our concern,” she said. “How can I be faulted for making sure taxpayers of Sturgeon County are not being placed on the hook?”
Kobza said that he was still seeking a new community to host Boonstock.
“People that decide to come are going to reap the benefits.”
Flynn said that, if elected, he will review the county’s assemblage permit bylaw within six months.
“We want to encourage functions of this nature to come to Sturgeon County.”