If it seems like there are more reports of impaired drivers on Whistler's roads, that's because there is.
According to the Whistler RCMP there have been 50 impaired driving arrests in the first half of 2010, up 50 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Although direct comparisons are impossible and the higher number of arrests can sometimes indicate more enforcement, drinking and driving statistics are up across the province and were cited recently in the provincial government's decision to toughen up laws and increase fines for impaired driving, starting in September.
Across the province it was reported that there were 5,590 convictions for impaired driving in B.C. in 2009, up from 4,880 in 2008. That's an increase of 15 per cent. Additionally, 24-hour driving prohibitions, which are handed down to drivers under .08, are also up - 41,300 in 2009 compared to 28,600 the previous year.
The new law will lower the threshold for fines and driving prohibitions to .05 per cent blood alcohol content from .08 per cent, or 50 milligrams per litre of blood from 80 mg.
As well, the new law would increase fines substantially, to the point where an impaired conviction over .08 could result in more than $4,000 in fees as well as the loss of a driver's licence for a minimum of three months and up to a year for a first offence.
But despite the increased number of arrests and the province's response, impaired driving is a regular occurrence in town. There were three impaired driving cases this week alone, including one where the driver was more than three times above the legal limit.
The first incident was on Thursday at 3:40 p.m. The RCMP received a report of a driver who was possibly impaired. They stopped a 52-year-old Vancouver man at Highway 99 and Whistler Cay. He was incoherent and was brought to the detachment, where he provided samples of .260 and .250.
The second arrest was made Sunday at 1:30 a.m. The police were conducting a roadblock on Blackcomb Way and stopped a 19-year-old resident of Pemberton. He was taken to the detachment and provided two samples of .130.
On Monday at 11:30 p.m. the police stopped a driver at a roadblock in White Gold, who failed the roadside screening device. A 29-year-old man from Whistler then provided two samples of .120.
The RCMP also handed down several 24-hour suspensions over the weekend.
According to Corporal Joe Leeson, the RCMP are encouraged by the number of calls they are receiving regarding suspected impaired drivers.
Vandalism under investigation
The Whistler RCMP are investigating a wave of vandalism in the village late Thursday, June 24 or early Friday, including knocked over barricades, bike racks and garbage containers. The suspects also threw orange pylons and landscaping rocks.
"We didn't find anyone but there was a lot of it, and our guys were busy going around and cleaning it up," said Cpl. Joe Leeson.
Some of the items were tipped onto the roads and created a safety hazard for drivers.
If you have any information contact the RCMP at 604-932-3044.
Bike thefts reported
The RCMP received two reports of bike thefts over the past week. The first report came in on Friday, June 25 regarding an Orange 223 downhill bike, black in colour, that was valued at roughly $2,000. The thief cut a heavy-duty cable securing the bike.
On Saturday, the RCMP attended a bike theft in Marketplace. A Norco 250 was left leaning outside the liquor store. People in the store saw a thief run off with the bike. The bike's owner gave chase but the thief was gone by the time he was outside the store. There is no description of the thief.
Thief targets art
On Friday, June 25 the RCMP were called to a residence on Horstman Lane in the Benchlands after the owner noticed that at least three pieces of art and a valuable clock were stolen. The break and enter is still under investigation. The value of the art is estimated at $12,500.
Bear breaks into home
A black bear broke into a residence on Eagle Drive in Whistler Cay on Saturday at 6 p.m. The RCMP answered the call and when they attended they discovered the bear had broken through the door and dragged a bag of garbage outside to eat. The police used non-lethal measures to scare off the bear.
Speed, tires a factor in crash
The RCMP attended a motor vehicle accident on Portage Road on the way to D'Arcy on Saturday at 9:15 p.m.
All of the passengers were taken to the health care centre. Two were then sent on to Vancouver General Hospital by helicopter. None of the occupants of the vehicle had life-threatening injuries and all are expected to make a full recovery.
Alcohol is not a factor in the incident, but the RCMP are looking at excessive speed and inadequate tires as factors. Charges are being considered.