News » Whistler

millennim police

By Loreth Beswetherick While there will be a heavy imported RCMP contingent in the village to weed out trouble makers at First Night celebrations, the 15 local police officers will all be out patrolling Whistler’s subdivisions where they are familiar with the streets. There is a concern that the subdivisions may prove to be a problem this New Year’s Eve with so many more properties having been rented out for that peak period without accompanying restaurant and party reservations. It was felt, in short, there will be a lot of people left with nothing to do. This sentiment was expressed at a round table meeting of community stakeholders to discuss Y2K plans and prepare for possible emergency scenarios. Participants in the Whistler Year 2000 project include the municipality, RCMP, Tourism Whistler, the health care centre, chamber of commerce and the mountains. Various other professionals were invited to give input. RCMP have addressed the concern by stationing the local officers on subdivision patrol and placing out-of-town back-up in the village. Six local police vehicles will be on the roads with two officers per car. Others will patrol the parking lots. RCMP also have plans in place to deal with a possible influx of prisoners on New Year’s Eve. The local police cells are not electronic so there is no fear of them being locked closed or open in the event of a power failure. Pemberton and Squamish are on standby and ready to accept the early evening rabble rousers. The first 20 arrested will be transported to Pemberton in the RCMP passenger van; the second 20 to Squamish. Whistler has the ability to hold a total of 40 in its cell block and 22 in the heated van. Four officers will man the cell block and two will be on hand to transport delinquents. A dog man and ID man plus two communications personnel will also join the troops for the night to reduce reliance on Vancouver dispatch. Anyone needing emergency assistance should call 911 and the call will be dispatched to Whistler. The Y2K group feel it should be up to individual village store owners to put up hoarding to protect store fronts. But they emphasize it should be made to look festive and attractive. RCMP may install a gate on the liquor store but cold beer and wine stores are on their own. Should the village need to be evacuated for some reason, the Myrtle Philip community centre will serve as a reception facility. Transport will be via Whistler transit buses and school buses being brought down from Pemberton for the night. Power will be supplied with generators, if needed. RCMP were told, at a Justice Institute of B.C. seminar for primary service providers, to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Corporal Trish McCormick was told at the seminar psychologists worry that Y2K may send "borderline" people over the edge. But, the main Y2K issue, according to Whistler fire chief Norm Dedeluk, is a possible loss of power. Anything else will likely be an inconvenience but not too much of a problem. BC Hydro officials have tested power grids and are confident there won’t be any problems. Hydro officials, like many others, have suggested the perception of a Y2K problem may be greater than any actual problem. It is advisable, however, for residents to prepare as they would for a long weekend. A tank full of gas and enough cash to last three days would be a good idea — just in case.