WHISTLER (NEWS 1130) – As police around the Lower Mainland gear up for another busy and potentially dangerous long weekend on the roads, Whistler is bracing for a slew of partiers.
This weekend marks the unofficial start to summer.
It has become the busiest one of the year for the resort municipality, but Mounties have had trouble keeping things under control. Last year, a pair of serious stabbings happened there.
They’ve also had to deal with a spike in the number of fights.
“[The Victoria Day] weekend has been a bit of a problem for us over the years. So, three years ago, we decided we were going to try and get the weekend back for families and for the community and away from people who were coming to Whistler just to make trouble,” says Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.
The municipality started the Great Outdoor Festival (GO Fest), which is filled with family-oriented events in an effort to deter hooliganism.
“It’s just the [May long] weekend that we have difficulties with. So, yes, we are trying to reclaim that weekend for the benefit of our community and our guests,” says Wilhelm-Morden.
“We started the GO Fest with tons of really family-oriented programming but hand-in-hand with that is an increased police and security presence.”
Whistler is bringing in extra police from Squamish and the Lower Mainland to help curb wild behaviour, including drinking-and-driving and public intoxication. All of those officers will be very visible, starting today.
Wilhelm-Morden realizes taking back the weekend will take time.
“We know it’s a work in progress and that it’s going to take more than one year to do it. But we’re confident that eventually, the message will get out and those people who want to misbehave will not come.”