When it comes to getting #backtobasics with priorities for spending taxpayer money, infrastructure, especially roads, is at the top of most Islanders’ list. That’s why it upsets me that there are still roads littered with potholes – and it’s July. Not only to bad roads cause damage to cars, but they impact tourism, they influence the decisions of people to move to PEI, and they are sometimes a safety issue as people swerve to avoid broken pavement or potholes.
This is why, I disagree when road crews were taken away from fixing our roads, and instead deployed to the Cavendish Beach Music Festival site – not just to set up fences for road safety – but to perform general concert site set-up duties such as moving picnic tables, putting up banners, putting bags in garbage cans, and then to clean up the garbage left by concert goers. Having department of transportation employees aid with traffic flow and directly related activities is one thing – but using them as general labour to aid the private for-profit event company is not the proper use of government resources.
The Cavendish Beach Music Festival does bring economic benefit to Prince Edward Island, but it also brings a huge profit exclusively to the event company and limited vendors on site. No outside food or beverages are allowed. As stated in the CBMF vendor application, vendors can “only sell Pepsi beverage supplied by the festival for resale”, and “The Festival maintains exclusive rights to sell and distribute all beverage items!” (exclamation mark is theirs). Also “20% of net sales will be retained by Cavendish Beach Music Festival”. In my opinion, any onsite set-up should NOT be done by government employees.
Teresa Wright – firstname.lastname@example.org
P.E.I. crews should be working on roads, not at music festival: Trivers
Why are provincial road crews helping with the setup of the Cavendish Beach Music Festival while roads in the area remain full of potholes?
That’s the question Progressive Conservative MLA Brad Trivers is asking after hearing concerns from some local residents and even some road crew employees about work being done by road crews on the concert site.
“People have patience throughout May and into June, but we’re here approaching the second week of July and the roads are still not fixed,” Trivers said.
“I don’t know if we just don’t have enough road staff or if it’s a bad year for the roads, but to me, the priority of the road crews should be fixing the roads and if they need to hire somebody to help set up an event, then go and let the company hire people to do it.”
The province did confirm that Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy (TIE) employees are indeed providing assistance to the Cavendish Beach Music Festival this week.
“We are assisting with police to direct traffic and ensure safety during a high volume event and to ensure Islanders and visitors onsite have a safe and fun experience. We assist in at large events that require traffic control just as we did recently with 20th anniversary Bridgefest,” a spokesman for the department said in an email statement to The Guardian.
He noted the event attracts a large number of tourists and residents and generates “a lot of economic activity and excitement.”
“Our department has provided some members of staff to assist with pedestrian safety and traffic control in and around the public right of way. This is similar to support that TIE provides to other large-scale public gatherings including the Grand Fondo bike event, the Rock the Boat Festival, Bridgefest and others.”
But Trivers says he has heard directly from some road crew employees who say they are not only doing work on the public roadways, but also inside the privately owned concert site.
This work reportedly includes setting up picnic tables, setting up the VIP area, putting up banners along the fences inside the venue and even coming back when it’s all over to clean up garbage from the crowds, Trivers said.
He believes the privately run, for-profit event should be hiring its own staff to do this work rather than diverting provincial road workers from their work repairing Island roadways.
“The safety issues on these roads are just as important as the safety issues are at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival,” Trivers said.
“I do know the value that this event brings to the area, but this is about making sure the core services for Islanders are looked after… let’s put the road crews to work on the roads.”