Editorial: A rainbow at Cape Scott

People living at the northern tip of Vancouver Island fear that at the end of their rainbow they will find not a pot of gold, but a pile of garbage.

The World Rainbow Gathering of almost 2,000 people is coming to Raft Cove Provincial Park near Cape Scott, and it’s a big surprise to just about everyone, including the RCMP, the parks department and the 200 residents of Holberg. As vans started rolling through the tiny community on Wednesday, the locals were wondering how hundreds of people are going to live for a month on a 300-metre beach with two pit toilets and no fresh water.

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B.C. Parks is scrambling to create a “compliance and enforcement plan.”

The Rainbow Family of Living Light has been organizing such gatherings since 1972 and is sometimes referred to as “the largest non-organization of non-members in the world.” Those who gather are dedicated to peace, love, non-violence and alternative lifestyles.

In the U.S., as many as 20,000 people attend their annual event in the first week of July. World gatherings like the one on the Island are longer, lasting from new moon to new moon.

They get mixed reviews from neighbours and officialdom. About 10 years ago, piles of garbage and human waste were left at Keeha Beach near Bamfield after one gathering. But after national gatherings in Utah and Montana, officials said almost no trace was visible when the thousands of campers left.

Although they have no leaders, the family has developed detailed rules to ensure everyone stays healthy and leaves the wilderness as they found it.

The Rainbow Family needs to live by those rules in Raft Cove.

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