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Organizer says Ribfest cancelled over 'break down in communications'

Posted June 4, 2019

The second annual Alliston Ribfest scheduled for this weekend at Riverdale Park has been cancelled because the issue of OPP paid policy duty for the event fell apart.

Organizer Rick Brooks of BWG Events Group posted a notice this morning on the Ribfest web site announcing the cancellation "due to unforeseen circumstances."

Mr. Brooks told Free Press Online via email this afternoon they first applied for paid duty officers on May 2. He said they informed about "discrepancies" then resubmitted on May 10. On May 16, he noted, another message from OPP was received "telling us the rates have gone up."  On May 24 Mr. Brooks said they received a further email "asking us to complete the new OPP application."

"This was on a Friday and we were preparing to open our gates to our Vaughan Ribfest so I was not checking my emails at that time," he said. "Only until Monday evening did I see this email request. I was given until May 29th until 4 pm to correct the application.

On May 29th we submitted the new application at 1 pm. We received an email back saying there are discrepancies and that we needed to add in one vehicle. So we did that and resubmitted by 1:30 pm. Then we get another email from ... Nottawasaga OPP saying I need to resend the application because of formatting issues. By 2:30 pm I asked for help and if I could send it in in another format. I received no response. I kept trying to figure out the glitch in the form I was experiencing and by 4:32 pm that day I submitted and I received an email back minutes later saying due to discrepancies and time delay Nottawasaga OPP could not accept my application. This was a week ago. Plenty of time to have a conversation and fix the problem."

Mr. Brooks said they hired licensed security but the Town would not approve the weekend permit without paid duty officers.

Nottawasaga OPP Inspector Steve Clegg told Free Press Online there is a standard policy related to paid duties.

"The event organizers failed to complete the necessary Paid Duty Request Application within reasonable time expectations and thus hampered the OPP's ability to identify available officers within the restricted timeframes," said Inspector Clegg. "Any application for paid duty requests to the OPP, requires mandatory information related to the event and specific details to what resources are being requested is required to be made in a timely manner. Nottawasaga OPP regrets the Alliston Ribfest was not able to proceed and remains committed to continuing to provide overall safety and security at all future community events."

Inspector Clegg also explained, "In regards to application timelines, when submitting an application for a paid duty, the requester should take into consideration the size and complexity of the event to ensure there is sufficient time to review and approve the proper allocation of resources to meet the safety and security needs. We make every effort to accommodate paid duty requests when we have all the required information."

Mr. Brooks said they had no choice but to cancel the event.

"We are at our mercy with Nottawasaga OPP and I have the email trail to back up the complications, lack of assistance or information."

All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri