Outrage in Cavendish
Residents, businesses gather to fume about Cavendish Beach
Welcome to Cavendish, new home for binge drinking, vomiting, urinating, trespassing, brawling vacations, or family fun and sand, your choice.
It’s a choice residents and businesses of the area don’t want visitors to make as they weigh the pros and cons of the annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival.
The community is so tense there is talk of putting an moratorium on the event until security issues can be resolved, said Matthew Jelley, chair of the Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish, and North Rustico.
It hosted a public meeting Tuesday in North Rustico to debrief on this year’s events that ran from Thursday, July 9 to Sunday, July 12.
While written comments are still welcome, some 25 people spoke their mind at the meeting, telling tales of wild drug and alcohol-induced behaviour and a complete failure to generate business for the Cavendish area.
“The main goal for people coming to the concert is to get to the gate,” said Heather Peters, general manger of Piatto Pizzeria in the new Avonlea Village. “Once they get in there, they stay, so we didn’t see any sales through the weekend.”
She heard that same story all over the Cavendish business district. The anger is there, said Jelley. “We are talking about public intoxication, we are talking about lurid behaviour, we are talking about urination on property, we are talking about vandalism and damage, talking about excessive dust and vehicle damage, we are talking about theft, property intrusions, we are talking about significant burns suffered by somebody that was heavily intoxicated, we are talking about a paralyzation below the neck,” said Jelley of the reports coming in from the days of the festival.
Mike Duffy spoke, offering a solution of a per-ticket surtax to go towards better security.
“Everyone is in business to make money, and that’s fine, but not when you are doing it at the expense of residents and the community reputation,” said George Clark Dunning who lives next to the concert site.
“Everyone has to sit down right now, cool their jets and work towards solving the issues that were brought up at the meeting, or it has to be shut down,” said Dunning.
“There is a limit to how much the community and operators can tolerate,” said Jelley.
“It’s not just about setting more rules. It’s about setting a true partnership and them buying in.
“The long-term viability of this festival is one that has a happy community and a safe public and perhaps just dialling down a few of the elements to ensure its long-term success.”
Matthew Jelley, chair of the Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish, and North Rustico stands with the Cavendish Beach Music Festival grounds behind him Wednesday. A meeting hosted by the municipality Tuesday drew an angry crowd, frustrated at problems caused by events on the festival grounds that ran from Thursday, July 9 to Sunday, July 12.