Lit Galaxy Festival snuffed out at first spark

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The council chambers erupted in applause on Wednesday when Mulmur council voted unanimously to withhold support for a proposed Canada Day weekend event.

Proponents of the Lit Galaxy Festival had approached council with a pre- consultation application for a three- day music, arts and activities event to include fireworks and on-site camping. The event was to be held on land owned by John Beattie, at 556210 Mulmur- Melancthon Townline, and organizers projected attendance of up to 25,000 people over the three days.

Promotor Johny Mikhael and his production company iRadios originally approached the township in 2022.

At that time, the township specified a number of studies that would be required to approve a temporary use permit for the subject lands. To date, the full application with requisite studies has not been provided. The pre- consultation application was intended to gauge support for the proposal.

It was standing room only in the council chambers as residents came to voice their opposition. Most were concerned about noise, light pollution, traffic and the impact on livestock and wildlife. The consensus was that the proposed festival is not in keeping with the rural character of the community.

Tom Reed, Chief of the Dufferin County Paramedic Service, expressed serious concerns about public safety.

He said that many people coming and going in holiday weekend traffic poses a major hazard, and said on-site coverage was another big concern.

“A holiday weekend in summer is the toughest time for staffing, both for the paramedic service and in local hospitals. I don’t want to be a wet blanket but I don’t believe it is something we could handle to keep the community safe,” said Reed.

Darren White, mayor of neighbouring Melancthon Township said while his council has not had a formal vote on the proposal, he is not in favour of an event of this magnitude in this location.

“That is a dirt road in the country. We are talking about the equivalent of four to five years of normal traffic over three days. We do not have the physical infrastructure or personnel to handle an event of this magnitude,” said White.

Resident Jeanette McFarlane, attending via Zoom, cautioned that a three-day event would actually mean four to six weeks of disruption in order to install fencing, sanitation and other infrastructure, then clean up and restore the site after the event.

Councillor Kim Lyon noted that the Lit Galaxy website already includes a countdown clock to an event in Mulmur, which might create the impression that the festival was approved. She asked that it be removed immediately.

Mulmur Mayor Janet Horner said lawyers had advised council that they were required to entertain the application. Having heard the concerns expressed by residents, she moved that “whereas the scale of the proposed event gives rise to concerns regarding potential impacts that are adverse to the public interest, public health and safety, the protection of persons and property as well as traffic, waste management, impacts to agricultural and environmental lands, nuisance, noise, dust, and emergency management; council should not support the proposal at this time.”

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