Talks begin on Haydn Park party crisis

  • Jun. 7, 2015 6:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverThe Village of Queen Charlotte hosted a community discussion on youth alcohol and drug use last week, in response to a large party earlier this month at Haydn Turner park that police say nearly claimed the life of at least one youth. Village council and other community members including School District 50 and Queen Charlotte Secondary School administrators, along with concerned parents, were all in attendance for the conversation. Three students also joined in for the discussion, to voice their own concerns and ideas for a safer ways for youth to party. The May 1 party at Haydn Turner Park saw around 50 youth ranging from 13 to 20 years old. Two youth had to be transported to hospital for over consumption of alcohol. Afterward Queen Charlotte Village Council saw that the issue of youth drinking and drug use had escalated. The Village is concerned of liability to the village, and of course the safety of the youth involved. They suggested a possible grad class discussion to the younger grades on a yearly basis, about drugs and alcohol. The idea was widely agreed upon with the group and was presented at the community open house. It had been suggested to adjust the program to be more oriented toward harm reduction education, much like sex education classes.Peer to peer education is widely used in sex education and was thought a good idea, as long as the conversation would not promote drinking or drug use.While the situation of youth partying seems to be socially accepted, the delegates reminded themselves it is still illegal. The schools or Village cannot condone youth drinking or drug due to the legalities of the situation. In other words, educating the youth on safer methods of consumption of alcohol and drug use can not be taught in the school. The schools already have programs to teach students about the consequence of substance abuse, but it is evident the conversations are not hitting home for the students.Other ideas revolved around figuring out a transportation system for youth to have safe reliable rides home from parties. The laws restricting new drivers to carry no more than one passenger at a time have made it hard for youth to be a designated driver for friends. “If we can create a culture in schools about safe consumption we may see change,” Queen Charlotte CAO Lori Wiedman said, adding the group involved came up with great concepts, which led to a good-take away from the community discussion.The main issue behind the problem of youth drinking and partying seemed to be that all youth, parents and community leaders are conflicted by laws and social acceptance. The youth in attendance also said there was a general consensus among their peers that they would like to be more informed when issues arise, such as the littering and clean up a Haydn Turner after a party. Throughout the conversation many ideas and concerns were voiced. At press time, the Village of Queen Charlotte was planning an open house May 27 to share the findings of the community discussion.

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