There won’t be a moratorium on electronic dance music parties in Edmonton.
On Wednesday, the community and public services committee voted against banning the events.
“Council learned its lesson on moratoriums with the combative sports moratorium,” Councillor Scott McKeen said. “We had a very angry crowd come in and tell us about loss of jobs, loss of income and loss of opportunity.”
“I think we have to be, as legislators, really aware of the unintended consequences of a move like that.”
A city report presented at the committee meeting recommended a ban on raves, noting that electronic music parties are linked with “widespread consumption of drugs” and “drug-facilitated sexual assaults” that tie up emergency services.
The report said a civic working group was meeting to address the concerns, but that police in the city had proposed a moratorium on raves be implemented in the meantime.
The city staff report noted a recent electronic music event in Edmonton saw 18 patients treated on the scene for drug-related illnesses, and 11 transported to hospital emergency rooms.
As a consequence, it states, police officers and paramedics were tied up at hospitals for several hours, and EMS service to the rest of the city was significantly reduced.
Several people spoke at Wednesday’s meeting, pointing out that a moratorium on raves would force parties underground and that would lead to more dangerous situations and more strain on emergency services.
The committee called on venues, promoters and all stakeholders to meet to discuss harm reduction strategies and other safety measures.
Boodang Music Canada organizer Viet Nguyen said Edmonton can learn from other cities that have doctors and nurses on-hand at raves.
“Right now we have EMS. We have medics and we have paramedics at our events, but what we don’t have is on-site physicians and nurses to really take that impact off city services,” Nguyen said. “So they can remedy symptoms quicker on-site and send patients on their way versus sending them to a transport.”
WATCH: On June 1, 2018, Fletcher Kent filed this report about how a proposal to temporarily ban raves in Edmonton over public safety concerns is being described as tone deaf by some.
On Monday, Andrew Williams, a director and co-founder of the Alberta Electronic Music Conference, said he believes fentanyl is one of the recent problems, and the city and police should work with event promoters on a strategy to combat the deadly opioid.