Angus Buchan’s appearance prompted protesters to demonstrate at the religious event. (Photo: John Boivin)

RDCK examines booking policy after backlash over religious event

Regional government to make sure groups abide by provincial discrimination and human rights policy

A furor over the appearance of a controversial preacher at the Pass Creek Exhibition Grounds has prompted the Regional District of Central Kootenay to review its booking rules.

“This action is being taken in response to concerns expressed by the public about a controversial speaker who headlined a recent event at the Pass Creek Exhibition Grounds,” the regional government said in a news release. The RDCK owns the land, which is managed by the Pass Creek Regional Exhibition Society.

RDCK officials made the statement after a local religious group invited Angus Buchan to speak at a three-day event on June 28. Buchan, a South African preacher, has been criticized for his views on homosexuality, child discipline and the submission of wives to husbands.

SEE: Castlegar protesters crash controversial pastor’s sermon

“For large events such as the recent Mighty Men’s Conference, the RDCK takes the lead on coordinating the booking process to make sure the proper event planning, insurance and licenses are in place, and to accept the damage deposit and booking fee,” said Stuart Horn, Chief Administrative Officer of the RDCK.

Organizations who wish to use the space for these types of larger, more complex events must sign a facility use agreement with the RDCK. The agreement requires the event organizers to abide by the laws of British Columbia, which encompasses laws regarding discrimination and human rights, the regional government says.

“Our responsibility is to ensure the opportunity is open and the process is fair to all organizations who wish to use the space,” continued Horn. “While it is not our role to anticipate or investigate the subject matter of these events, we are aware of the community’s concerns about the featured speaker at this particular event.

“We will review our existing agreement and process, and ensure that the expectations we set for event organizers are clear.”

The Pass Creek Regional Exhibition Society, who manages the property, apologized on the weekend for allowing the event to take place.

The RDCK said the PCRES was not involved in the booking process and does not decide who may use the property.

“Any concerns about the subject matter of the event should be directed to the organizers of the event, and concerns about the use of regional facilities should be directed to the RDCK,” said the news release.

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