RCMP ‘cautiously optimistic’ after first night of May long weekend 

A pair of domestics, weapon charge and ‘significant’ liquor seizure mark Friday night

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRANDON BARRETT - GO FEST Alex Cuba performs as part of the Great Outdoors Festival in the village on Saturday, May 21. Local officials developed the festival as a way to attract a family-oriented demographic and promote outdoor recreation during Whistler's troubled May long weekend.
  • Photo by Brandon Barrett
  • GO FEST Alex Cuba performs as part of the Great Outdoors Festival in the village on Saturday, May 21. Local officials developed the festival as a way to attract a family-oriented demographic and promote outdoor recreation during Whistler's troubled May long weekend.

The head of Whistler’s RCMP detachment said he’s “cautiously optimistic” after the first night of the resort’s long-troubled May long weekend was relatively uneventful.

“It didn’t seem that busy in the village. But obviously vigilance is key for us,” said Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair of the night of Friday, May 20. “I’m cautiously optimistic but prepared for anything.”

With an operational budget of $30,000 and a highly visible police presence, RCMP largely kept things in check on Friday evening with only a handful of reported incidents, including two domestic disputes, two cases of public intoxication, and a weapon possession charge. In the latter, a Surrey teen was found with a knife after plainclothes officers observed two groups of males “running around” the village before the 17-year-old male dropped the weapon.

A second, separate weapon charge was ultimately dropped for a 17-year-old Delta male after a search subsequent to a drinking in public arrest uncovered a can of bear spray.

“He’s not facing charges, but he spent about nine-and-a-half hours in cells waiting for his parents to come and get him,” LeClair added.

Police also dropped another potential weapon charge after a woman reported an intoxicated man in the bathroom of a hotel near Mountain Square with a knife. Police did locate the man, a 21-year-old Burnaby resident, and seized the weapon.

“Officers attended and observed a male tying his shoe outside the washroom door who said hello to police. They weren’t able to tie that male to the washroom, however, the knife was found,” LeClair said. “Just given how the events unfolded, no charges are being contemplated in relation to that male.”

A “significant” liquor seizure was made Saturday morning when police found a vehicle with four 20-year-olds* from Surrey and Delta on Northlands Boulevard “surrounded by beer cans” with a half-full beer on top of the car, police said. A search of the vehicle turned up a staggering amount of alcohol: four 36-packs of beers, an 18-bottle case of beer, a mini keg of beer, a bottle of rum, two bottles of vodka, two bottles of tequila, and a bottle of whiskey.

Police were also out in force on Highway 99 conducting road checks on Friday morning, and made a pair of drug seizures along with “about 50” Motor Vehicle Act charges, LeClair said.

Although criminal incidents were down, Mounties are hoping to avoid the violence that plagued last year’s holiday weekend when Burnaby teen Luka Gordic was stabbed and killed near Marketplace. A second, non-fatal stabbing took place less than 24 hours later.

“The early evening vibe is great out there with lots of going on,” LeClair said. “Once the sun goes down, a different demographic comes out and we’re out there watching out and being very vigilant to make sure we’re keeping on top of anybody who’s wanting to cause problems. We’re in good shape so far.”

Stay tuned to Pique for more updates on the May long weekend.

An earlier version of this article identified the suspects as all being 17 years old, when they were in fact 20 years old.

Speaking of May Long Weekend, RCMP

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