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Whistler survives another Victoria Day weekend

Number of police incidents down, but concern still high



There were noise complaints, people causing disturbances, others drunk in public, a stabbing and even the police station was broken into as Whistler dealt with another rowdy Victoria Day weekend.

In all police officers dealt with 139 calls for service — that’s down from last year when they received 181calls.

“People were taken into custody for a variety of offences,” said Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair.

Added Sgt. Steven Wright: “We are down in terms of the number of files we investigated from last year, but that is not to say that we weren’t busy.

“For the most part people were well behaved. We were just dealing with groups of people who were troublemakers looking for trouble.”

The RCMP station was hit with rocks, a window was broken and two portable radios were stolen.

“Even we are not exempt or immune from crime ourselves,” said Wright, adding that all available officers were in the village when the 3 a.m. robbery occurred.

The warm weather last weekend also meant people stayed in the village long after the bars closed down, said Wright.

“…We found this weekend, because the weather was so warm, people weren’t going back to their hotel rooms so we were dealing with fights throughout the village, not on a large scale, but we were dealing with fights.”

For more than a decade Whistler has been trying to come to terms with how to keep the peace on the May long weekend when large groups of graduating youths, many under 25, come to celebrate. A significant number of extra RCMP officers are brought in, along with auxiliary police. Many hotels have introduced security measures of their own to keep youths from cramming up to a dozen friends into rooms, and bars and nightclubs have a zero tolerance for misbehaviour.

But scuffles and a general feeling of unease still permeates the streets of the village.

“Are we ever going to get rid of it?” said Whistler Councilor Bob Lorriman who also sat on a task force tackling the issues around the May long weekend.

“I don’t think so. But we need to let those law-abiding people, who want to come up here and have a good time, know that we are doing as much as we can to deal with it.”

The problem is not isolated to Whistler said Lorriman, pointing to the stabbing death at Cultus Lake in the Fraser Valley over the weekend.