News » Whistler

Community plans meeting to fight weekend rowdies

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By Clare Ogilvie and Andrew Mitchell

News of Whistler’s woes over Lower Mainland youths coming to the resort to party and cause trouble may have a silver lining for the community.

"What is good and really positive is that I am getting a lot of people e-mailing me, phoning me, and giving me further suggestions about how to deal with this," said Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly.

"This is a really, really a positive attitude. This is a community-wide issue and we recognize that just putting on more police, or what have you, isn’t the answer. There is no silver bullet here."

The community is definitely coming together on this issue.

Nightclubs, the taxi company, the police, bylaw officers, municipal leaders, and representatives of the accommodation sector all plan to meet early next week to strategize on how to deal with the issue.

First and foremost will be talk of how to keep workers and customers safe and maintain Whistler’s international reputation as a great place to come to have a good time all year round.

While the resort has been dealing with the issue of rowdiness in the village for several years the problem was ratcheted up a notch this month with the seizure of a gun and live ammunition from an Abbottsford teen, and the stabbing of two young men from Surrey.

One of them was stabbed 14 times, though none of the wounds were life threatening.

Other weapons’ related charges handed down in past weeks include a youth caught running through the village with a large butcher knife after running out on a cab fair, and an intoxicated man found in the day-skier lots with a pair of lead-lined gloves.

"I am really pleased that people are stepping up and saying this is a shared problem and all of us are at risk here if we don’t manage it as a community and really get hold of it," said O’Reilly, who is committed to tackling the problem.

"We are not going to take this. We are not going to let this get out of hand. If we have to we will keep putting more resources into it."

There appear to be two main groups causing the problems – exuberant grads and gang-like youths who come up to party.

Both take advantage of the resort’s cheap hotel rates in the shoulder season.

This week Tourism Whistler circulated information to the media pointing out that you can stay in the resort for as little as $69 a night.

Mayor O’Reilly believes getting the accommodation sector on board is key to addressing the issue.

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