‘Nothing has been approved,’ official says of traffic strategies at Burl’s Creek
By Roberta Bell, Orillia Packet & Times
A plan to manage the massive influx of traffic expected to go through the entrances of Burl’s Creek Event Grounds this summer is not yet in place.
“It’s still in the raft states,” said Jerry Ball, Oro-Medonte Township’s director of transportation and environmental services.
“Nothing has been approved.”
Oro-Medonte, like the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), is still going over documents provided by Burl’s Creek.
MTO spokesperson Astrid Poei said while Burl’s Creek — expected to host the WayHome and Boots and Hearts music festivals at its 570-acre Line 8 park — submitted a traffic plan, it didn’t initially include a traffic-impact study. That came later, April 13. Any concerns the MTO has with it will be conveyed directly to Burl’s Creek, Poei said.
WayHome (July 24 to 26) and Boots and Hearts (Aug. 6 to 9) are each expected to bring upward of 30,000 people and about half as many vehicles.
Burl’s Creek begins at Line 7, which will have 16 gates, and runs between Highway 11 and Ridge Road to Line 9, which will have another 16 gates.
“We’re trying to look at the most efficient and effective way of getting traffic off Highway 11 (North or South) and into the event itself,” Ball said.
The impact an alternative route proposed by Burl’s Creek — it would see vehicles get off the highway well before they neared the park and take back roads in — could have on area residents is something Ball said the township is considering carefully.
“You don’t want to block the roads entirely to the point that people can’t enter or access their property,” he said. “You don’t want to impede anything that would prevent emergency services from happening.”
Tammi Taylor, who handles venue operations and community relations for Burl’s Creek, pointed out in an email about the transportation plan there is also an entrance on Line 8 to the park. It’s unclear at this point how it fits into the transportation plan.
“To have entrances on three lines in addition to 3.5 kilometres worth of internal queueing means it’s better situated than most festival sites in North America,” the statement said.
The statement said in addition to the MTO and Oro-Mendonte’s department of transportation and environmental services, the company is working with Simcoe County paramedics, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Oro-Medonte’s fire department and OPP.
“These are professionals charged with the health, safety, welfare and preservation of the community as a whole,” Taylor said in the statement. “They are not to be discounted.”
Barrie OPP Sgt. Joe Pileggi, who will o-ordinate the OPP’s operational plan, said there will be between 70 and 90 paid-duty officers at the venue. They’ll be from detachments across the region.
“We will be a support unit,” Pileggi said, noting Burl’s Creek will have its own security searching vehicles going in.
OPP will run RIDE checks at at every gate when attendees come out and traffic control on lines 7, 8 and 9 as well as on Ridge Road and 15/16 Sideroad.
“Our concern is the residents of Oro-Medonte,” Pileggi said, noting Burl’s Creek is footing the bill for the enhanced service.
In addition to OPP, the Oro-Medonte fire department and Simcoe County paramedics being on site 24/7, Taylor said third-party first-aid provider Odyssey Medical will be there.
“… It is enough to contain and manage from within any unusual or catastrophic event,” the statement said.
“These events are planned so tightly, it is not possible that this will be a mess.”