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Coroner releases rave report
By Wes Brown
The release of the coroner's inquest earlier this week on the rave related death of a Toronto man, left the City of Toronto's party scene in more a positive light.
Kathy Kerr, the inquest response co-ordinator for the Toronto's coroner's office, said City, municipal and police officials will be reviewing the recommendations.
"We wanted it to be out in the open before the Aug. 1 report. [The recommendations] are out there and municipalities will be using them to base their stance on the situation," she said. "People take them very seriously."
Among the 19 recommendations released by the five person jury, were a call to the City to collaborate with fire, police and ambulance services, to ensure rave events are safe, Kerr said.
"A report card on the status of all of the recommendations will be prepared in a year's time to see where this issue stands. Until then, the [rave scene] remains in the hands of City Council."
Bob Gallagher, executive assistant to City Councillor Olivia Chow, said the coroner's inquest has gone against the direction many City officials would like this issue to go.
He said although the issue has focussed on illegal drug use and the scene's potential for violence, the report has contradicted both those initial concerns.
Gallagher said banning raves and potentially driving them underground would be the worst thing the City could do. "[Toronto] has to realize that they're not going to stop dances and the City should stop the pressure being placed on the rave culture," he said.
The death of Allen Ho, a Ryerson University student who died at an underground rave earlier this year, prompted the inquest.
Toronto's government is not the organization placing pressure on all-night parties. Gallagher said the provincial government recently introduced an anti-rave bill that has already received a second reading in the House of Commons.
It is the City and provincial pressure, that party promoter and Ravestar chief executive officer Shawn Powell, said has lead to a media witch hunt of the rave culture.
Powell added the positive impact of the City coroner's inquest will have no effect on the fate parties across the City.
"The coroner's report has had a long tradition of saying a lot and not doing much. In the end, it doesn't do anything," he said. "The City Councillors and the chief of police were disappointed with the report, showing that they are looking for anything to shut [raves] down."
Fantino could not be reached for comment.
Powell said while any rave party promoter he knows is following the standard currently set by the Toronto Dance Safe Committee Protocol, raves are still being shut down.
"At the last party held on City property there was no violence, no guns, no one died and really no problems," he said.
Powell added he and other Toronto promoters are planning a party Aug. 1st at Nathan Phillips Square, in spite of the unveiling of Fantino's report on the status of raves in Toronto.