Some New Year’s Eve celebrants were livid because they couldn’t get back into the village after 11:30 p.m., but aside from that municipal officials called Whistler’s sixth annual First Night a success.
Councillor Max Kirkpatrick, who sat on the First Night committee, said the gates to the village have closed at 11:30 on New Year’s Eve the last couple of years, but concedes it is something that will be changed next year.
"We’ll keep two gates open for passholders," he said Tuesday. "The gate staff shouldn’t have to get into confrontations."
Several people who held tickets to First Night had been going in and out through the gates all evening and were caught on the wrong side of the gates when the order came down at 11:30 that no one was to be allowed back into the village. The 11:30 end to in/out privileges was not printed on the tickets.
Finance Director Drew Stotesbury, who has temporarily assumed responsibility for the Bylaws Department, said the 11:30 closure was planned ahead of time, but agreed it will have to be looked at in the future.
"That’s what caused the problems at midnight," he said.
A number of people rushed a gate just before midnight.
Despite the crush of people no serious accidents or injuries were reported. RCMP made 13 arrests, but six were minors who were driven home.
Kirkpatrick said he was amazed at the number of older people taking part in First Night celebrations.
"It was a solid sea of people from the Delta right to the main square. You moved only as the crowd flowed," he said.
The mild temperatures were expected to contribute to the problem of people hanging around after midnight, but Kirkpatrick said it made little difference.