It looks as though the Cultus Lake Park Board may have backed down from a threat to take a bite out of a local woman’s pizza-slice floatie fundraiser.
On Aug. 8, musician and new Cultus resident Danielle McTaggart spent 12 hours on an inflatable pizza-slice-shaped floatie to raise money for Nations Cry, a humanitarian organization educating youth in Sierra Leone.
The story of her planned fundraiser was published by The Progress online and in the Aug. 7 print edition after which the public relations company used by the Cultus Lake Park Board sent an email on behalf of Cultus Lake Park chief administrative officer Bonny Bryant.
“Ms. McTaggart appears to have neglected to mention that she does not have approval to hold this event in Cultus Lake Park,” Bryant wrote.
She said McTaggart came to the office to get an event permit but was told she was too late, and McTaggart said she would hold her fundraiser anyway. Bryant said McTaggart had no permit, she would be in violation of several bylaws and fines would be issued.
“Should Ms. McTaggart hold this unauthorized event today, she will be fined a substantial amount of money as she will be breaking multiple bylaws and does not have an event permit for Cultus Lake Park.”
Danielle McTaggart and her husband Drew held the event anyway, although they were more low key than planned without the performances originally planned.
“We really tried to lay low, small set up and no public invite and no location announced,” Drew told The Progress Friday.
He said someone from the park office did stop by where Danielle was floating, was upset about the filming going on with personal cameras, and told the couple the issue would be dealt with on Friday.
But as of 3 p.m. on Friday, they still had not been issued a fine.
The good news (on top of that) is that Drew said by that time Friday afternoon they had raised $70,000 with donations open for another week. The couple had a goal of raising $50,000.
When asked Friday if a fine would be issued, park CAO Bonny Bryant sent a letter that said, in part, in consideration of privacy rights, they would not provide information on dollar amount of specific fines or bylaw infractions.
“Had she gone through the proper channels in a timely fashion, she may have been approved for this event,” Byant wrote. “However, after calling and being told the process, she made the decision not to submit an application, pay the application fee, or obtain the necessary insurance. She held the event knowing that she was not approved to do so.”
Bryant said the process is needed because many people want to hold events in the park.
“A person cannot randomly decide that the rules and bylaws for Cultus Lake Park do not apply to them. They apply to everyone. We have had multiple events in the Park this spring and summer, all of which — except for Ms. McTaggart — went through the application process, were approved and complied withour bylaws.”