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Police find 57 impaired drivers leaving Shambhala Music Festival

BC Highway Patrol says it also handed out 162 violation tickets
Police say impaired driving is a major issue for people leaving Shambhala Music Festival. File photo

Police say they removed 57 impaired drivers from the road as people left Shambhala Music Festival on Monday and Tuesday.

BC Highway Patrol said in a statement Friday it handed out 162 violation tickets for offences that also included unlicensed drivers and uninsured vehicles.

“These statistics are frightening considering we were only able to check a small portion of the people attending the festival and these people were aware there would be police road checks,” said Insp. Chad Badry.

“While I’m sure many had a good time in the festival, it is unacceptable to put everyone on the roadways at risk.”

The week leading up to the four-day electronic music festival, which ran July 20 to 23 near Salmo south of Nelson, also saw police remove three impaired drivers and three prohibited drivers. Patrol had 447 contacts related to speeding, of which they said 37 were for speeds of more than 40 km/h over the limit, and 55 other violations.

Police said the Regional District of Central Kootenay doesn’t require the festival, which is held on private land, to pre-plan with law enforcement nor does the festival have to pay extra for police services.

Shambhala, which allows attendees to stay at its site through Monday to rest, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This year’s Shambhala has already been marred by the death of an unidentified crew member, whose body was found in nearby Salmo River on Monday. Police have said the 43-year-old Calgary man appears to have drowned and don’t suspect foul play.


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