VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The morning after Vancouver’s annual 4/20 pro-pot rally at Sunset Beach in Vancouver has left a very muddy mess. The adjoining field at the park will apparently have to be closed for the next several weeks because of thousands of dollars in damage.
Post #420 pot rally damage to field at Sunset Beach in the thousands of dollars according to Vancouver Park Board. pic.twitter.com/GsiuPt8fjX
— Mike Lloyd (@llikemoyd) April 21, 2017
The Vancouver Park Board says between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds of trash was collected but it says the field is destroyed.
Members of the board say had organizers put down plywood or another material on the ground prior to vendors setting up shop and people arriving, the field may have been saved.
Commissioner Michael Wiebe says the board is going to make every attempt to recoup costs. “We are putting an invoice together from just the Park Board side of the costs and then we will be handing the invoice over and looking for payment. Last year, we did not try to get any payment back.”
— Andrea Macpherson (@AMacOnAir) April 21, 2017
While damage control is underway, the debate continues after the beach was invaded by tens of thousands of pot smokers.
Wiebe has a number of concerns about the event including overdoses and the fact minors are so easily exposed to pot products during the demonstration. Nearly two dozen people needed some kind of medical treatment this year, which is similar to the number last year and lower than the 64 in 2015.
He still wants the event moved somewhere else.
The organizers say they’re open to paying for some of the work needed to restore the field. Dana Larsen says the rain made things muddy, and that, in combination with the amount of people, damaged the field. “The park might need a re-seeding — I’m not sure — and we’re happy to look at the costs of that and we’ll see how it goes. Our intention is to cover some of those costs.”
Larsen calls this event a “learning experience.”
First responders out in full force on 4/20
Vancouver Police say officers, firefighters, paramedics and City of Vancouver staff were really busy at two 4/20 sites yesterday, but overall, things were mellow.
At its peak, the VPD says about 40,000 people and 525 vendors gathered at Sunset Beach. An estimated 150 people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
There were 39 medical emergencies and 19 people were taken to hospital for further treatment. “Officers issued eight driving suspensions for the consumption of drugs, and two drivers were criminally charged with impaired driving,” says Staff Sergeant Randy Fincham.
He adds police stuck around until about 10 p.m.