By Alison Taylor
Three weeks before the May long weekend, Whistler has a message to all its partying guests — bad behaviour will not be tolerated in the resort.
“People are going to get the message that you can go to Whistler, you can have a great time but you’re not going to do it at other people’s expense,” said Dennis Hilton, chair of the Respect Whistler Coordinating Committee.
The committee was formed in the wake of last year’s May 24 long weekend, which was characterized by complaints of rowdy, intimidating behaviour from young guests. Examples of groups walking eight across in the village so people had to move out of their way, and the flagrant use of profanity in the village streets prompted complaints from guests and a call to action from resort partners.
More than 100 community members met shortly after the weekend to discuss ways to deal with the problems and Respect Whistler was born.
The group, which is made up of a wide-range of stakeholders, has developed a series of recommendations. The recommendations call for all the resort partners, from hotels and strata condo owners to bars and bylaw services, to work together.
“It seems to me that if every business operates in partnership with every other business then our village, Whistler village, becomes such an attractive place for guests of all ages and of all desires,” said Hilton.
The committee has been working in conjunction with the RCMP and bylaw services.
The RCMP has already sent out the message to schools in the Lower Mainland via the local community policing officers that there is zero tolerance for disruptive behaviour in Whistler.
“Students are certainly having the message delivered to them and as soon as they come into town they will see that reinforced, that we mean business,” said Corporal Steve Wright.
“To back that up, those very same community policing officers, school liaison officers, are coming up to Whistler to work on the weekend to help us identify troublemakers. They will be supplementing our enhanced foot patrols both during the day and at night, which is something that we didn’t have last year.”
There will be random roadblocks on the highway that weekend and an increased police presence.
Roughly 20 additional officers will be called in for Friday and Saturday nights. The bike patrol will be in the village during the day and evening and there will be plainclothes police offers in town, helping identify any troublemakers.