City of White Rock staff who last month opposed a Marine Drive businessman’s application to host a St. Patrick’s Day event are now supporting the festival.
But conditions imposed on the beer-garden function – eyed by Paul McDonough of Jimmy Flynn’s Celtic Snug – were criticized by one councillor as excessive; in particular, a demand that the city be reimbursed $1,050 for the lost pay-parking revenue.
“It seems like we’re trying to do everything not to do the event,” said Coun. Helen Fathers, following additional concerns expressed by Coun. Louise Hutchinson around the potential for the festival to draw an unsavoury crowd.
Hutchinson said that while she liked aspects of the event, she is worried about security.
“White Rock has a history of attracting young people from outside our area… who hear about a party and come and wreck it,” she said. “The proponent has to be aware this element is still there.”
McDonough had proposed the event to build on the success of last year’s Irish Heritage Month, which returns in March.
Monday, leisure services director Eric Stepura said he has heard concerns from White Rock RCMP regarding policing the beer garden. Also, that council policy prevents staff from supporting a request to waive the $1,050 fee.
The revenue loss was one of the reasons the event was initially opposed, along with the anticipated impact to businesses that rely on the lot’s proximity for “people with disabilities and ladies who wear high heels,” Stepura said.
Fathers motioned for the fee to be waived on the understanding that funds raised would be donated to charity. Council voted instead to approve the event subject to the conditions, and encourage McDonough to apply for a grant-in-aid to cover the fee.