Area residents ‘turned off’ by proposal for Lennon Peace Festival at Mosport

Area residents ‘turned off’ by proposal for Lennon Peace Festival at Mosport

MOSPORT — Four weeks after Beatle John Lennon held a press conference in Toronto to announce plans for a Peace Festival here July 3-5, members of Clarke Township Council say all they know about the event is what they’ve read in the press. And they are not amused.

The councillors said yesterday that since Lennon first described plans for the rock festival Dec. 18 and the sponsors talked of crowds of 250,000, township residents have been phoning to voice objections to the festival with fears that such large crowds would bring chaos.

But Reeve John Stone and the four other members of Council say they haven’t been approached by either the festival’s sponsors or the owners of Mosport track. They are unanimous in the opinion that Council should have some say as to whether the event takes place as planned.

Reeve Stone said the matter hasn’t yet been raised in Council but if the sponsors or track owners don’t approach the township on their own they will be invited to do so.

Horace Best, township bylaw officer, suggested yesterday that Council could prevent the festival being held at Mosport because the track area is zoned exclusively for agricultural, auto-racing and ancillary uses.

“If Mosport track is to be used for a rock festival I don’t think this in any way could be called an accessory to auto racing.’’

Reeve Stone said his primary interest was “in the safety of the people of Clarke Township.” He agreed with his bylaw officer that the festival would be a contravention of the zoning bylaw.

However, he stressed that the Mosport owners “have been quite considerate and reasonable, especially in the last couple of years. We’ve had no trouble with them at all.”

Some of his fellow councillors were less optimistic. Deputy Reeve Earl Walkey said he didn’t want to see any event come into the township which might detract from Clarke’s growing reputation as a year-round sports area.

Councillor Frank Gray said he had received complaints “even before I’d heard about it being planned . . . Some of these rallies get out of control, you know.’’

Meanwhile, Gordon Wright, co-ordinator for the Northum- berland-Durham Emergency Measures Organization, said the organization will be making plans to help police in such matters as crowd control and first aid, provided help is requested by local authorities.

A spokesman for the provincial police said one officer has been designated to draw up plans for traffic and crowd control. He said that for such events the normal rule of thumb calls for provision of one police officer for every 750 to 1,000 people.

“We’ve already begun looking at the possibility of cancelling leaves for that weekend.’’

Special to The Globe and Mail