By Frank Maradiaga
Special to the SunPost
The Bal Harbour Village Council has come out against the fashion event Funkshion, the musical group Swedish House Mafia, and all large scale events in Haulover Park.
The council passed a resolution in their January meeting that urged Miami-Dade County to reject “any and all” large special events in the Haulover Park because of the huge disruption it would bring to city.
“I just want to guarantee the people of Bal Harbor that they do not become prisoners in their own home,” Said Mayor Jean Rosenfield.
The comments came during a presentation by Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman giving the city some preliminary details of the proposed four day event that would go on March 21 through March 24. Last year the fashion and music event was held on sands of Miami Beach.
At the moment it is unofficial as the promoter has not entered a formal application.
“There is no permits given right now, “ she said. “Our police department is coordinating with Bal Harbor and Sunny Isles Beach if there is going to be an event.”
Heyman said that the preliminary plans include luxury buses that will take concert goers from satellite pick up points outside of the city to Haulover Park.
Bal Harbour Police Chief Thomas Hunker wasn’t sold on that plan.
“I don’t believe people going to concerts will board buses and come,” Hunker said. “We are going to get a lot of people trying to find parking spaces in Bal Harbor or Surfside, and walk to the event.”
Resident Betsey Bystock told the council that such events bring increased litter to the city, and there is no guarantee such visitors would patronize local businesses like the Bal Harbor Shops.
Then there is the traffic.
“Our traffic gets very slow on certain days when everyone wants to picnic in Haulover anyway,” Bystock said.
Saying he had all the confidence in the world of his department, Hunker also gave the commission a warning: “If the congestion becomes as bad as it could be, it will be very difficult to get residents in and out in an expeditious manner.”
“If there is a medical emergency how are they going to get there,” asked resident Brian Mulheren. “I think it’s a bad idea.”
Sunny Isles Beach City Manager Alan Cohen was also spoke out against the event saying it will have a toll on the surrounding area’s police force.
“We have the past experience of a concert that taxed our agencies, and that was a one day event, this is a four day event,”said Cohen.
The dates of the proposed event also coincide with other major events around the county. The Miami-Dade Youth Fair, Ultra music festival, and the Sony Ericsson Open to name a few, all also take place on the dates.
According to Cohen that will stretch the county’s police department thin and almost assure surrounding departments will have to be called in. He said the amount of overtime paid would be significant.
“It’s a horrible idea,” said Assistant Mayor Joni Blachar when taking in the toll the event will have on traffic, the police force, and the grounds of Haulover Park.
“Nothing positive about it,” Blachar said.
The Resolution passed 4-1 with Councilwoman Patricia Cohen being the long objecting voice.
Councilwoman Cohen felt the resolution was too broad by standing against all large events despite proper planning.
There was a little confusion as to whom had the final say on allowing the Funkshion or any other such event. Attempts by Councilman Martin Packer to get an individual’s name from Heyman came up empty, but with the promise that they would receive the resolution’s message.
According to Heyman she has no official say on the matter citing that county ordinances take the renting of public spaces out of the hands of the commission, but she will air her and the city’s grievances to those that have a say.
“I will be your messenger,” Heyman told the council.