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West Vancouver Police hand out one COVID-19 fine at party attended by hundreds

Last Updated Sep 4, 2020 at 10:35 pm PST

A view of the Lions Gate Bridge, downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park from West Vancouver in the summer of 2019. (Source: Riley Phillips/NEWS 1130)

West Vancouver police spent three hours clearing out a party attended by hundreds in the British Properties last weekend

One $230 fine was issued, police say more penalties are possible

WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Police in West Vancouver spent about three hours clearing out a house party attended by hundreds of young people last weekend, handing out one relatively small fine while admonishing party-goers for the “stupidity” of their actions.

After receiving a noise complaint around 10:30 p.m. last Saturday, the West Vancouver Police Department discovered a large party that featured DJs and charged for admission, according to Sgt. Greg Trenholm.

“They located an estimated 200 – 300 guests aged between 17 – 19,” he explains.

“Of note, all of the people there were very respeciful of police, but there were found to be lots of youth. The youth had basically explained it was an online organized type party and monies were paid but there were no real details of who monies were paid to and who the actual organizers were other than one person.”

That person was given a ticket totaling $230.

“That was the only ticket issued on the evening, but obviously all of the youth were advised essentially of the stupidity of their actions,” Trenholm says.

Stricter penalties and stepped up enforcement for those violating public health and safety orders were introduced Aug. 21.

RELATED: B.C. issues 10 COVID-19 fines in first week of enforcement

Those who host or organize an event of more than 50 people can be fined $2,000 with an extra $300 in fees tacked on. Individuals can be fined $200, plus $30 in fees for disobeying the province’s COVID-19 rules, actively encouraging events that break those orders, and refusing to disperse when instructed to do so.

Trenholm says the Aug. 29 incident is still being investigated, and further penalties are possible.

He notes the majority of people in West Vancouver have been complying with guidelines for events and workplaces, noting this party was a disappointing example of a failure to follow the rules.

RELATED: B.C. enforcement officers continue COVID-19 crackdown

“People and the public have to understand it’s serious and that police are going to enforce these at every opportunity and obviously messages aren’t getting out there,” he says.

“Maybe monetary penalties will help assist in getting the message out.”

This Labour Day weekend Trenholm says police will be actively patrolling the city.

“We have numerous extra officers out on patrol and when they run into people and run into crowds they just remind them of their civic responsibilities,” he says.

“Obviously this is a serious situation, people are dying in great numbers across Canada, across North Amercia and across the world. People need to take it seriously.”