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Port Moody beer and music festival on the move after community raises concerns

Residents were worried about the impact the Brewhalla Beer and Music Festival might have on the healing garden and tree canopy at Pioneer Memorial Park
Brewhalla is expanding its beer and music festival to Port Moody in August. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Pioneer Memorial Park, but has now been moved to Inlet Park.

The Brewhalla Beer and Music Festival in Port Moody has moved to Inlet Park after residents expressed concerns about the suitability of the event’s original venue – Pioneer Memorial Park.

But Devin Jain, the city’s manager of cultural services, said it will continue to explore opportunities to host programming at the wooded green space near city hall and the recreation centre.

Pioneer Memorial Park is also the location of Crossroads Hospice Society’s labyrinth healing garden where visitors can contemplate the loss of loved ones, as well as a “phone of the wind,” an art installation that offers comfort to people who are grieving by giving them the chance to have "conversations" with family and friends who've passed on.

Jain said Brewhalla’s organizers, Langley-based Red Door Events Inc., approached the city about the possibility of moving the event after concerns were raised in the community about maintaining the sanctity of the park’s reflective spaces, as well as the potential for damage to its forested areas.

“It is very important to the organizers that they make a good first impression,” Jain said, adding the city and Red Door had been working with Crossroads to mitigate any potential disruption to its garden and even provide the society a presence at the event.

Jain said the city was approaching the Brewhalla festival as a pilot for further programming at Pioneer Memorial Park in anticipation of the gravel field at Inlet Park being redeveloped as a turfed sports facility and an already heavy schedule of events Rocky Point Park.

But a construction update that’s moved preliminary site preparation of Inlet Field to later in the year means that facility is again available.

Jain said the fencing that already exists around Inlet Field solves some of the logistical problems Brewhalla’s organizers faced at Pioneer Memorial Park, which would have required the erection of protective fences around the healing garden as well as portions of Knowle Street and the parking lot at the rec centre.

Red Door event manager Hannah Brown said Brewhalla will feature 26 vendor tents, a small stage for live music as well as several food trucks, port-a-potties and hand washing stations.

In a press relase, the company said the larger space at Inlet Park means the entire event can be accommodated on one day, Saturday, Aug. 6, instead of the two days originally scheduled.

More than 60 craft brewers are expected to attend. Ticket sales will be capped at 1,100 for each day. The company has organized similar events in Fort Langley. 

Jain said the new venue for the beer and music festival doesn’t change the city’s “goal of exploring Pioneer Memorial Park as an event space.”

He said the park’s central location just a short walk from the Inlet SkyTrain station and its proximity to the densely-populated neighbourhoods at NewPort Village and Suter Brook make it ideal for programming.

“It also provides an alternative to Rocky Point Park for events, allowing for a wider variety of events in the community as well as some revenue for ticketed events,” Jain said, adding future bookings for smaller events at Pioneer Memorial will be considered on a “case-by-case basis.”