The City of Quesnel will not partake in one of the cities most anticipated festivals of the summer.
Yesterday, the not-for-profit organizations coordinating events for the Billy Barker days festival met up and decided to cancel the event.
The group felt that the decision was not only necessary but was made out of respect and empathy for those displaced from their homes.
The group released these reasons for cancellation is as follows:
- Travel throughout the Cariboo is limited and the Emergency Operation Centre recommends that any unnecessary traffic is minimized on all highways in the area.
- The area already has a high concentration of particulates in the air, which could worsen depending on the surrounding fires and winds. This can present medical issues for those with respiratory conditions.
- The RCMP – Quesnel Detachment is fully engaged in evacuation and traffic control (roadblocks) throughout the North Cariboo and not able to provide the required support for the festival.
- Prior to the increased urgency in our area, the Quesnel Fire Department sent a crew and a Fire Engine to assist 100 Mile House, so their ability to respond to local calls for service is limited.
- Currently, G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital is working over capacity due to receiving patients from hospitals in evacuated communities. Billy Barker Days always represent an increased workload, and their resources are already stretched.
- All emergency operations agencies agree that it is important that Quesnel is able to respond with assistance to our neighbors, should we need to accommodate evacuees or provide support. Additionally, should the wildfire situation impact Quesnel directly, we need to be in a position to move swiftly. We need to keep facilities, parks, and personnel available and roads clear should the fire situation change and local support is required.
Mayor of Quesnel Bob Simpson says the city fully supports the decision to cancel this year’s event.
This would have been the 44th year they’ve done the festival.