3 West Vancouver party hosts fined $2,300 each for large gatherings on Halloween

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Three West Vancouver, B.C., party hosts were served fines totalling $6,900 on Halloween for contravening the COVID-19 Related Measures Act restricting the size of gatherings.

The first fine was issued at around 7 p.m. PT in the 1800-block of Mathers Avenue, where the homeowner was hosting more than six guests from outside the household.

The second was handed out at 9:45 p.m. PT to a homeowner hosting a house party with 24 youth in attendance in the 5300-block of Kew Cliff Road.

A third $2,300 fine was issued at 11:30 p.m. PT to a party organizer at a rental property in the 1000-block of Crestline Road, where over 20 party-goers had converged. The owner of the property contacted police after remotely observing people arriving via security cameras.

"For some reason, people just aren't getting the message," said West Vancouver police Const. Kevin Goodmurphy. "We are into our ninth month of this pandemic and people should know better than to hold gatherings that contravene provincial orders."

West Vancouver police were also called to disperse 300 youths who had gathered at Glen Eagles Elementary School after neighbours phoned in complaints about fireworks. Officers seized fireworks, liquor and a replica handgun.

Warnings issued in Surrey

Surrey RCMP said its COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team conducted 150 proactive checks Halloween night and received 24 COVID-19-related complaints from the public.

According to Cpl. Joanie Sidhu, seven warnings were issued under the COVID-19 Measures Act, but no fines.

A single warning was issued to a person who was in contravention of the Quarantine Act.

"Of all the proactive and reactive COVID-related checks completed, there was a high rate of compliance with only three instances of non-compliance," said Sidhu.

Prince George and Saanich violations

Police outside of the Lower Mainland also were busy issuing COVID-19-related violation tickets to homeowners hosting large house parties on the weekend.

In Saanich, B.C., officers were called around 2:45 a.m. PT Sunday to a home in the 3900-block of Lasalle Street, where they discovered about 30 people, according to a police statement.

Police said the officers warned the host, citing provincial health orders that ban gatherings of more than six non-family members within one household, but the warning was ignored.

As a result, police said the homeowner was issued a violation ticket under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act for the amount of $2,300.

"Our officers responded to several noise complaints over the weekend regarding gatherings in private homes, [but] this was the only incident which a large private gathering was found to be held," said Const. Markus Anastasiades.

In Prince George, B.C., RCMP were called to what they describe as "an out-of-control house party" on Saturday night with an estimated 50 young people at a home on Regents Crescent. The youth were aged 13 and up.

There were several people fighting in the front yard, and after police arrived on scene, several youth fled. Some remained behind and continued fighting. RCMP say one youth had bear spray and another assaulted an officer.

Two youth inside the residence were unconscious and were taken to hospital for possible alcohol poisoning.

The homeowner, a 51-year-old male, was inside and intoxicated. RCMP issued a $2,300 fine for violating the B.C. Public Health Officer's order for gatherings.

Prince George RCMP Cpl. Craig Douglass says events like these contain multiple risks beyond COVID-19.

"For many reasons, events such as this put the safety of those attending at risk. We ask that you don't attend these events, and we ask parents and guardians to prevent your children from attending these events," he said.