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Whistler survives another Victoria Day weekend

Number of police incidents down, but concern still high

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“We don’t want to close our doors,” he said. “This is the business we are in and we are doing the best we can… but I wish it was better than it was.”

Of particular concern to Lorriman this year was the fact that police were responding to calls early in the evening.

“…That has me really concerned and I am not happy about that,” said Lorriman.

“That is before the bars even opened so people are buying alcohol at liquor stories and then going back to their rooms and drinking.”

Lorriman said Whistler is planning for the events and communication between all the different stakeholder groups is strong. He attends a monthly meeting with bar managers and owners, the RCMP, liquor control, and on occasion the fire department.

Joey Gibbons, of the Gibbons Hospitality Group, which operates Tapley’s, the Longhorn, and Buffalo Bills in Whistler, also attends those meetings. He believes communication is key to keeping the situation under control and that spreading the word that the bars have zero tolerance for drunks and their disorderly behaviour helped keep trouble away this past weekend.

“It is more of a control weekend (for us),” he said. “You just want to make sure things are safe because a different demographic does tend to come up here with graduation of high school and universities and so on.”

At the beginning of the weekend the RCMP officers who will be on patrol come past all the bars and clubs and exchange cell phone numbers with staff and chat about strategies for the evenings.

Gibbons said that personal touch makes a huge difference to the way issues are handled but overall the resort just has to come to terms to dealing with the complications that come with the long weekend.

“It is just the way things align,” he said. “And we deal with it and it is part of life.

“Everyone is doing the best they can do but at the end of the day unless we put a roadblock up in Squamish and not let anyone up under 19 then we are going to be dealing with it.”

Lorriman would like to see the accommodation sector take more of a leadership role with regard to dealing with events like the May long weekend.

“The bars and RCMP are working really well together and I think the next step is that we have some accommodation people that need to get on board,” he said.

“…I think there are still some out there who will take any booking they can get, so that is something we will have a discussion about and what can we do to mitigate that.”

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