From left to right: Rotary Club Kelowna Sunrise president Susan McIntyre, Pathways executive director Charisse Daley and raffle chair Bob Fortier pose with a cheque worth $10,000 during RibFest Kelowna on Aug. 23 to 25, 2019. (submitted)

‘We cannot make everyone happy’: Okanagan RibFest responds to protests

Sunrise Rotary donated approximately $30,000 to charities

The message from the president of the Rotary Club of Kelowna Sunrise (RCKS) is that RibFest is a family fun, community driven event that is for a good cause.

RibFest Kelowna had been met with lengthy protests staged throughout the weekend at various intersections and public areas, with activists stalling traffic, writing messages on sidewalks with chalk and bringing a speaker and microphone to bring climate change awareness.

“We understand that not everybody is in favour of everything,” president Susan McIntyre said.

“That is one of the wonders of living in a democracy.”

READ MORE: Meet your RibFest BBQers

READ MORE: ‘There’s no room for a rib fest’: protesters shut down Richter and Bernard

Of equal importance to McIntyre was how RibFest proceeds made possible Rotary Club donations of $10,000 to Pathways Abilities for the purchase of an accessible van to transfer clients to activity services; $9,025 to Hope for the Nation’s Food for Thought program, which provides malnourished children with healthy meals; and $10,000 to the JoeAnna’s House hospital patient family lodging project

“As Rotarians, we work together to make the community a better place,” she said, stating that this year’s RibFest Kelowna was the best event RCKS has ever had.

READ MORE: Kelowna vegan protesters to continue ‘radical actions’

For the Kelowna Climate Save protesters, the charity work isn’t enough to warrant a festival dedicated to livestock production.

“In the midst of a climate crisis, there’s no room for a rib fest,” 25-year-old Kelowna Climate Save member Tessa Gordey said.

Both the UN and Canada state livestock production as a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

“The destruction of rainforests to create land for agriculture, along with growing demand for meat, are major contributors to the increasing greenhouse gases which are taking a significant toll on climate and global food security,” reads the UN’s “ActNow” campaign materials.

Still, McIntyre maintained that RibFest is a positive summer event.

“We have worked hard to consider the environment and sustainability,” McIntyre said. “We cannot make everyone happy.”



David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at david.venn@kelownacapnews.com
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