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'We don't want a repeat of what happened in the past': Vancouver easing into Canucks viewing parties

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Given the ugly history of the riot than broke out when there were hockey playoff parties downtown, the City of Vancouver is starting small this Sunday with an event at Oak Meadows Park. 

Oak Meadows Park is located at Oak and West 37 Avenue, a fair distance away from the downtown core.

“That’s the thoughtful intention here is that we don’t want a repeat of what happened in the past,” said Coun. Pete Fry. “That’s why we’re not doing a big activation right downtown.”

Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said authorities are working with the city to chart the safest course forward as the playoffs continue.

“We’re continuing to work with the City of Vancouver so we can avoid these large viewing parties in the downtown core,” she said. “We’re continuing to give our recommendations on that.”

While the cost of damage from the 2011 riot amounted to an estimated $3.78 million, Sim said the price of opening the venues for this year's games "is minimal in the grand scheme of things."

"It's a time to celebrate and it's also a time to show off the fact that Vancouver fans can celebrate in a family friendly, fun and safe way," he said. "I think that will pay dividends going forward for our city and bringing swagger back to our city."

Visintin says overall crowds have been on good behaviour during this playoff run, but open alcohol has been an issue.

“We issued approximately 20-30 tickets per home game last round,” said Visintin

Alcohol is not allowed at Oak Meadows Park. The City of Vancouver does allow drinking at 31 parks throughout the year.

The city is providing porta-potties and is anticipating around 2,000 people in attendance.

“I’m not against the idea as long as people who gather here are respectful of the environment and don’t leave garbage behind,” said Jimmy Suh, a man who lives in the neighbourhood, adding he hopes the event wraps up by 11 p.m. so people can sleep in peace.

With limited parking available, the city is advising people to walk, bike or take transit and to plan ahead.

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