09/24/2015 01:59 EDT | Updated 09/24/2016 05:12 EDT

Boonstock bailout leaves B.C. taxpayers with $180K bill

The province says it has no way to recover nearly $180,000 owed to it by the 2014 Boonstock Music Festival in Penticton.

The bill is for policing charges rung up when the RCMP was forced to step in and take over security after it became apparent there were serious health and safety concerns around the staging of the festival.

One female festival goer died, and 80 others were sent to hospital with drug and alcohol overdoses.

Penticton RCMP said officers made 38 arrests during the three-day festival in August 2014.

Festival organizers had hired a security contractor, however the company withdrew due to planning concerns.

When thousands of festival attendees began arriving in Pentiction, the RCMP had no option but to step in, said the provincial government.

When reached by phone by CBC both Boonstock director of operations Barb Hanes and President Colin Kobzu refused to answer questions.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Justice said Boonstock is insolvent and the province has no way to collect the on the debt.

The RCMP said the total policing cost was $250,000. The province's share is 70 per cent, or $177,000 with the remaining 30 per cent owed to the federal government.

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Boonstock Music Festival 2014, Penticton, B.C.
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