By Claire Piech
Partygoers beware — the RCMP will not be tolerating any disorderly behaviour in the Whistler area over the May long weekend.
The RCMP is increasing its presence in Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor to prevent the aggressive and drunk behaviour seen throughout the village in recent years.
These measures include increasing the number of officers on duty and implementing random roadblocks.
“The number one message we want to send out is that if you are attending Whistler this weekend, have a good time, but be aware that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated.” said Cst. Ann-Marie Gallop.
The RCMP will have about 20 additional officers in the Whistler area from May 18 to May 21. This will include bike patrols, police dog services, an on-foot emergency response team, plain-clothed officers, and two liquor inspectors.
“I think a visual presence will serve as a reminder that we are a safe community,” said Cst. Gallop. She added that the RCMP will be issuing $100 fines for anyone caught drinking in public, as well as fines for public urination.
The RCMP has been working alongside school liaison officers from the Lower Mainland to identify potential troublemakers. The officers have already visited schools in the Greater Vancouver area to discuss with students the RCMP’s zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior and open alcohol this weekend.
In addition to increasing the police presence, the RCMP will set up random road checks along Highway 99 to monitor driving from Lions Bay to Whistler. Gallop said the hope is that these roadblocks will prevent aggressive and drunk driving, improve seat belt use and remind visitors of the enhanced police presence in Whistler this weekend.
“Drunk driving is something that we always look to address,” Gallop said. “In my opinion, even one drunk driver is a problem.”
May long weekend signifies the unofficial first camping weekend of the summer and has become characterized around the province by rowdy behaviour.
Complaints from guests staying in Whistler last year prompted the community to take greater action against such disorderliness. The Respect Whistler Coordinating Committee has been working closely with the RCMP over the past year in preparation for the coming May long weekend.
“I am eternally optimistic that the measures being taken this weekend will work,” said Dennis Hilton, the committee’s chair. “A pound of prevention is the best way to go.”
He went on to say that he hopes these measures will continue to be used over other holiday weekends. “Its not just about this weekend. It should be about all holidays, like Martin Luther King Day next year. It is about Whistler deciding what it wants to be, and if it wants guests who care about each other,” said Hilton.