When it comes to raves, RDEK’s hands are tied, director says

Each weekend of the summer there are large parties at Koocanusa and the issue has no easy fix.

On Thursday,Sept.6, a delegation presented their concerns to the Regional District of East Kootenay about rave parties they say are occurring at Koocanusa.

On Friday at the Regional District of East Kootenay board meeting, District of Elkford Director Dean McKerracher said the local government body doesn’t have authority to do much about the situation, but would like to do something about it.

“People are continually asking us to do something, but our hands are tied,” he said. “We’ve written a letter to our MLA and to our MP.”

He said the issue is being bounced around between different parties.

He said the parties happen on a continual basis each weekend of the summer there are large parties and the issue has no easy fix.

“It’s a continual problem and police force of course don’t have enough members to deal with the lake itself,” McKerracher said.

The Elk Valley RCMP division looks after the lake on the Baynes Lake side, while the Cranbrook division looks after this side.

McKerracher said the Elk Valley detachment has a limited number of staff on weekends as well.

“If they hear of something going on then they’ll staff up on weekend,” he said, adding the extra enforcement for the parties ends up costing taxpayers more money and makes sticking to a budget more difficult for local government.

He said on the May long weekend the police presence in that area is ramped up and even brings in a portable jail.

Over in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary the district payed for a temporary summer police presence on Christina Lake, which consisted of an officer and a boat. The delegation on Thursday asked whether something like that could be pursued for Koocanusa.

“They have an officer that works two months, they supply him with a boat and residence and he cruises the lake everyday of the week,” he said. “They don’t have the problems we have as far as large parties go.”

Cabins and properties surround much of Christina Lake, whereas Koocanusa has more open areas.

“We could probably supply one officer, but what would one officer is going to do, I’m not sure,” McKerracher said, as the parties sometimes get upwards of 2,000 people.