British Columbia

Counterculture group plans Vancouver Island gathering

Some northern Vancouver Island residents are trying to prevent a counterculture group from gathering at a local provincial park.

Rainbow Family of Living Light gathering draws ire of local residents

Some northern Vancouver Island residents are trying to prevent a counterculture group from gathering at a local provincial park.

At least 2,000 members of the Rainbow Family of Living Light are expected at Raft Cove Park, near the northwest tip of Vancouver Island. The first Rainbow Gathering was held in a U.S. forest in 1972, born of the anti-Vietnam War movement.

In a recent YouTube video, devotee Gabriel Kundalini describes his temporary community as a "sort of Burning Man crowd: hippie, but sort of homeless gutter punks."

North Island residents like Samantha Griffore fear the group will destroy the remote, pristine park. She believes the ill-prepared hippie campers are putting themselves in danger.

"The execution of this gathering is just not planned out," she said. "It's not logical.  It's not responsible and it's grounds for shut-down in my opinion."

Chrystal Menzies say it's no place for that many people to live for the next month.

"The flora the fauna, the firewood, the toilet situation — there's absolutely no way this area can support the numbers they're looking at."

Meanwhile, B.C.'s Ministry of Environment is scrambling to deal with the onslaught of complaints it's received since the US-based group announced its plans yesterday. The ministry says it is "developing a compliance and enforcement plan."

A Facebook page for the Raft Cove event appears to have been deleted.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this storiy identified the Rainbow Family of Living Light as a group based in the U.S. In fact, the group is not specifically based anywhere.
    Aug 13, 2013 6:30 AM PT