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COMOX VALLEY—The 2009 Vancouver Island Music Festival, held this past weekend in the Comox Valley, was graced with both sunny skies and a noticeable CUPE presence.

CUPE members from across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland travelled to the beautiful Comox Valley to share in great roots and world music at a Festival dedicated to presenting the greenest cultural event in Canada!

Both CUPE BC and CUPE Local 556, Comox Valley Regional District, were sponsors of the “Living Green” initiative.  This initiative brought together the cultural and environmental community to begin to address environmental impact issues and to explore ways to reduce our footprint on mother earth. In partnership with organizations like CUPE, the Vancouver Island Music Festival is forging partnerships that will help ensure a sustainable festival for years to come.

One example of sustainability is that no bottled water was sold on site. The “Vancouver Island Tap Water” initiative provided both stationary and roving access to pubic tap water.  After spending many years fighting for the right to public water in and around the Comox Valley, it was heartening to see the value placed on safe drinking water provided by CUPE members. Festival organizers also provided comprehensive sorting, composting and recycling stations throughout the site.

BC Ambulance Paramedics, members of CUPE Local 873, were on site ensuring immediate medical attention was available to festival participants.  CUPE BC Executive Board member, Doug Sprenger, and CUPE staffer Heather Inglis drew attention to the Paramedics strike by wearing Save our Ambulance Paramedics T shirts, distributing strike literature, and talking to festival participants who were keenly interested in the issue and what they could do to help.  “I was encouraged by the interest people showed in the issue” said Local Government Liaison Heather Inglis. “Everything from in depth conversations to getting the thumbs up.  It gave the paramedics on site a boost to know their union was at work for them at this grass roots level”.