“If people are coming up here to have fun, they are more than welcome. If they are coming up here to cause trouble, they are going to come to our attention very quickly,” warned Sgt. Steve Wright, who is organizing Whistler RCMP patrols New Year’s Eve.
“We take a zero tolerance to people who are misbehaving,” he said.
One hundred officers will be on duty on the night of Dec. 31 — both in uniform and plain clothes — patrolling the village and surrounding neighbourhoods.
The RCMP is also setting up roadblocks along Highway 99 from 7 p.m. until 4 a.m. that night.
“The highway signs will be warning people of the roadblocks ahead, that they could be delayed. And we’ll have signs posted along the highway in Whistler as well to warn people to expect delays,” said Wright.
“Traditionally, New Year’s is not a bad night for that kind of driver, because with the roadblocks, people are getting the message,” he said.
Last New Year’s Eve officers made 23 arrests, a slight increase from the 21 arrests reported the year before but still a relatively low number.
“Definitely, our partnership with the municipality has gone a long ways to put the word out that this is a family event,” said Wright.
“And definitely the number of visits by undesirables decreases year by year. We are having more families come,” he said.
Wright added that last year’s arrests were all made outside of the municipality’s alcohol-free First Night activities in the village.
RCMP efforts have gone a long way over the past seven years to curb rowdy behavior. In 2001, 100 arrests were made during New Year’s Eve and national newspapers reported on “Whistler Village riots”.
“People who are coming up here are coming up here for a reason, and know there are a lot of police up here. It is no longer known as a place to come and party,” said Wright.