It is hard to believe that the organizers of the shambles that would have been ‘Roxodus’ could possibly upset people any further but Roxodus Music Festival's tree cutting rumours have done just that. After cancelling the large concert suddenly with no explanation, then failing to give any response to ticket holders requesting refunds, the festival developers are now in hot water with environmentalists, as reports have suggested they are guilty of destroying up to ten hectares of “environmentally sensitive” Canadian wetlands, to make room for the festival that never happened.
The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) has launched an enquiry into the groundwork carried out by Roxodus organizers, which had the intention of creating more space for the rock-music festival. According to officials from the County of Simcoe, the failed-concert is looking at potential charges under the municipality’s forestry conservation bylaw. It is believed that Roxodus cleared 18 hectares of woodlands and 10 hectares of sensitive wetlands, without the proper permits or prior approval.
According to reports from Global News, the head of Roxodus’ parent company, Fab Loranger, purchased the land in Clearview, Ontario in 2018. Work was underway by the winter of 2019, as labourers cleared Clearview’s woodlands to create Roxodus’ parking lot, camping zone and vendor spaces.
Despite construction being in full force, and Loranger maintaining they had been given the go-ahead, the NVCA reports that the organizers did not have the necessary approval to clear trees or drain the wetlands in the area.
In fact, during a required commission by Loranger into the environmental impact of the work, Azimuth Environmental Consulting found that protected Canadian land had been disturbed during the ground-work for the festival.
The report said, “Recent site activities undertaken at the Roxodus festival grounds resulted in the loss of woodland and wetland area. Additionally fish habitat was negatively impacted and is currently in a vulnerable state.”
In a council meeting in June, the Roxodus organizers made a special agreement with the Township, the County and the aerodrome, which promised to restore any ‘environmentally protected,’ affected land to their original state. Loranger would also have to ensure the removal of trees and vegetation was ‘remediated.’
However, this agreement was made before the unexpected cancellation of the Roxodus festival. In a statement to Global News, Debbie Korolnek, spokesperson for the County of Simcoe, confirmed, “This agreement fell through.”
The County is now investigating “a potential violation” of the forest conservation bylaw by Roxodus organizers. If found guilty, the festival organizers could be fined $100,000 for the loss of trees alone.