QC mayor cracks down on partiers

  • May. 26, 2015 2:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverFollowing a massive youth party on May 1, calling on the resources of RCMP and fire crews and paramedics, Queen Charlotte Mayor Greg Martin is appealing to the community for their help in a village-wide crackdown on illegal and under age parties. Mr. Martin released an open letter to parents and students of Queen Charlotte Secondary, expressing his concerns with a growing crisis. A community discussion on youth parties will start this month to assist the village in the best ways to deal with the issue. On May 1, RCMP attended Haydn Turner Park on a regular patrol when they discovered more than 50 youth, ranging in age from 13 (Grade 8) to their early 20s, using the campsite closest to the cemetery. The officer immediately came across a youth passed out in the ditch lying on his back, aspirating vomit into his lungs and convulsing. The officer turned the youth over and he voided the vomit. He then called an ambulance and an additional officer to the scene. According to the mayor’s letter, some of the youth involved were not cooperative. Some were actively disrespectful and disobedient of the directions of the RCMP and several fines were issued.Approximately two flats of beer, two flats of twisted tea, 12 bottles of 26-ounce hard liquor and two bottles of wine were emptied, much of it was found stashed in the bushes. The youth continued drinking and would not leave, so the officers decided to call the fire department around 12:30 a.m. to put out a pallet fire in an effort to discourage continued partying. Volunteers from the fire department assisted in a search of the area, where another youth was found passed out alone. The ambulance was called again and she was also taken to the hospital. “It is clear that were it not for the presence of the RCMP that evening, at least one youth would have died and any number of them would have left the party in vehicles driven by impaired drivers,” Mr. Martin wrote in his letter to the community.Since the Village has taken over the park from the Community Centre, the village has invested about $125,000 into park upgrades through various development grants. However, cleanup costs, necessary to keep the park in a state originally intended, have passed $500 so far this year. “The cleanup has ranged from picking up waste, beer cans and general garbage, damage to trees and the beach from illegally driving on trails and foreshore, to the serious life-threatening incident on Friday night with an intoxicated youth aspirating vomit 10 feet away from his partying peers who took no notice of his condition,” Mr. Martin wrote. At least one youth was present the morning after the party to assist in the clean up. “All over Haida Gwaii we talk about our commitment to the environment and we see every day the result of world garbage being thrown in the oceans to wash up on our shores. In Haydn Turner Park however, our youth burn pallets and the nails are left on the ground. Bottles are broken and the glass is left on the ground,” Mr. Martin wrote.”The Council is calling on the youth of the community to step up, stop being selfish, and take responsibility for their actions. As parents, we hope you will have conversations with your young adults about keeping each other safe Â… and treating their community with the respect that they want to be treated with.”Despite a near-death of one of their peers the night before, on May 2 several youth, again attempted to use the campground for a party. Only the presence of a police cruiser blocking the entrance and RCMP searching and disposing of alcohol and issuing of fines stopped the party. The Village of Queen Charlotte will be working on a by-law and policy that will regulate conduct in the community’s public space and will allow the RCMP to enforce the conduct rules, including imposing fines and penalties and which will hopefully address the issues being seen at Haydn Turner Park.An under age drinking offence can see a $230 fine along with an public drinking fine that is another $230. As a result of this incident , the Village of Queen Charlotte is setting up a Community Discussion on Youth Partying.

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