Great Outdoors Festival slated for May long weekend holiday 

Council news: Crime stats down, RCMP priorities for 2014 yet to be set

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Details are scant but now there is a name for Whistler's new May long weekend celebration — the Great Outdoors Festival, or GO Fest.

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden announced the name at Tuesday's council meeting.

"This is the start of something big and important, I am confident of that," she said.

She added that the event will be family friendly with an emphasis on outdoor sport and it will resurrect the Great Snow Earth Water Race, a team relay race, that hasn't been held in Whistler for 20 years. That race was designed to mark the end of the ski season and welcome summer.

"The May long weekend is a unique weekend," mused the mayor, adding that it's a time when you can ski, golf and canoe all in the same day in Whistler.

Council dedicated $280,000 in Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funds to create a new May long weekend festival after vandalism and village hooligans plagued the long weekend in 2013 — an ongoing issue for several years.

"(This will) allow us to bring that weekend back to the community," said the mayor.

Crankworx Events Inc, which produces the annual mountain bike festival, was awarded the contract to produce the May festival.

The festival will take place on May 16 to 19.

More information will be available in the coming weeks at greatoutdoorsfest.com.

Whistler crime stats on the decline

Whistler's crime statistics are moving in the right direction.

In a presentation to council Tuesday, Staff Srgt. Steve LeClair outlined the annual numbers.

Violent crime has seen a modest reduction of four per cent.

"We've also seen some healthy reduction in sex assault," said LeClair, adding that the numbers show a 26 per cent decline from 15 to 11.

There was a rise in domestic violence from 37 to 42, or 13 per cent.

"We do take domestic violence very seriously," he said.

When Councillor Andrée Janyk asked what accounted for the rise, LeClair said it's due in part to young people living together in the resort without the maturity, or relationship skills, to deal with one another. The other factor is that there are a number of out-of-town domestic assaults too, which affect the numbers.

There was an "alarming" increase in business break-ins from 19 to 27, while property crime overall decreased by eight per cent.

"Some of these increases (in business break-ins) are actually attributed to a prolific offender," said LeClair. She has since been arrested, charged, convicted and sent out of the province.

Auto theft has remained stagnant while bike theft is down; that decline is attributed to the bait-bike program.

In general, the number of people incarcerated at the Whistler detachment dropped from 488 to 432 due in part to a push from above to find responsible adults to look after people drunk in public, rather than putting them in the cells.

Calls for service were down roughly seven per cent.

The Whistler RCMP has yet to set its priorities for 2014.

Said Wilhelm-Morden: "These statistics are really moving in the right direction and that's good news."

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