Large gatherings on popular Vancouver beach are 'unacceptable,' public safety minister says
VANCOUVER -- B.C.’s public safety minister says the large gatherings seen on a popular Vancouver beach over the weekend are “unacceptable.”
Mike Farnworth was reacting to crowds that formed at English Bay on both Friday and Saturday nights. Vancouver police used the RCMP helicopter and a patrol boat to flood the area with light in an effort to get people to leave once the beach officially closed at 10 p.m.
“I think people need to be mindful that as much as we’re significant increases in vaccinations and case counts coming down, the reality is people still have to follow the provincial health orders,” Farnworth said.
While most people were enjoying the warm weather safely, by nightfall things escalated.
On Friday night, the Vancouver Police Department said there was at least one fight and two people arrested for breach of the peace. No arrests were made Saturday night, but police said some people started throwing bottles at officers.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he was “deeply worried” to hear about such behaviour.
“We want to make sure that our officers get home safely every night when they’re finished work and this is no way to act,” Stewart said.
English Bay has seen a number of outdoor gatherings in breach of public health orders. Last month, Stewart said in a tweet he’d been in contact with Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer and that “VPD will be reassessing their approach to outdoor parties.”
“They said they were going to adjust their tactics and I really commend them for what they did,” Stewart said Monday.
Current provincial health orders limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people.