Wasaga Beach still family-friendly: mayor 0
Wasaga Beach's mayor says despite a rowdy long weekend that kept police busy, it doesn't detract from the family-friendly image the municipality is trying to promote.
“I like to think it has no negative impact on the community,” said Cal Patterson. “We've come a long way since 10 years ago.”
On the Canada Day long weekend officers from the OPP Huronia West Detachment responded to 428 calls, up from the 397 they received last Canada Day weekend. Nearly 50 people spent time int he cells including 28 for being drunk in public.
Patterson says the beach makes the town a popular place in the summer, but not everyone who visits is rowdy.
“It's the nature of the beach,” said Mayor Patterson. “This weekend past it was packed but there were no problems.”
This past weekend the OPP responded to 180 calls.
The OPP responded to 15 assaults on Canada Day weekend – one of them a shooting early Saturday morning that resulted in serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. The victim was taken to Sunnybrook Hospital.
There were also 14 thefts, eight calls for mischief, one for drugs, 15 calls for disturbing the peace, 22 traffic collisions, 37 traffic complaints, five drunk driving incidents, three 3-day-suspensions, 75 false “911” calls, 13 false alarms, and eight calls for missing persons who were all located.
The OPP issued 156 provincial offence notices – 91 under the Liquor Licence Act, and 53 under the Highway Traffic Act.
This past weekend saw a decrease in calls, but the OPP was still busy responding to four assaults, 14 reports of theft, three break-ins, five calls for mischief, two car accidents, 14 traffic complaints, two calls for drunk driving, 19 false “911” calls, and two false alarms.
Eleven people were taken to jail – four for intoxication.
The Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce president, Mark Bannerman, says it is sometimes difficult to change Wasaga Beach's image.
“It's something we're working hard to try and adjust,” said Bannerman. “I think we have to understand that we're a beach, and a beach attracts young people, and young people like to have fun.”
Wasaga Beach is using social media to put more of an emphasis on family so that positive images come up in a Google search, said Bannerman. He says he sees it working.
“I was at the beach front on Canada Day and the Monday holiday. There were a number of families on 'Beach 1', which was encouraging to me,” he said.
Bannerman says the actions of young visitors affects everyone.
“We want them to act responsible – for their safety and the safety of other business and our residents. It's the police's job to ensure that safety and order are maintained,” he said. “I think the police did a great job. They had a large presence.”
The OPP Huronia West detachment follow a no-nonsense approach when dealing with the increase in visitors at Wasaga Beach on busy weekends.
“Following the 'Strict is Fair' policy, we send the message to come here, be safe, and respect. And if you don't, then we will lay down the law,” said Const. Kinney.
Does the endless parade of drunk and disorderly calls dealt with by the OPP on the long weekend lessen Wasaga Beach’s reputation?